Prairie gets growing with tree project


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

Prairie Township is helping residents improve their neighborhoods by bringing trees to township streets.

At a recent meeting, the board agreed to implement the street tree program. The program helps residents get a discounted price on trees through local nurseries.

“We install the trees for them at no cost,” said Tracy Hatmaker, township administrator. “It really is a cost share program because they pay for the trees and we plant them for free.”

On occasion, Hatmaker also noted the township will completely pay for the trees so that certain streets can have street trees. One example of the township doing this is on West Board Street.

“We don’t have any money appropriated for this in 2016, but this may be something the board might be interested in down the road,” Hatmaker said. “Some of the streets the board might be interested in doing this in the future include Beacon Hill, North and South Murray Hill and South Grener.”

The board also approved delaying the demolition of five former Metro West Apartment buildings. In 2014, the township demolished 17 of buildings, but seven still remained.

“We have a demo order for four of the buildings, but the township agreed to delay demotion while various developers work to redevelop the buildings,” Hatmaker said. “We want to be a good partner and give them an opportunity to do this, so we approved a letter of support for a tax credit they need to move forward with this project.”

In 2004, a fire broke out at the apartments, killing 10 people. Since then, the apartments have sat vacant until Prairie Township started demolishing them last year. Hatmaker said the group wants to redevelop five of the buildings and should find out if they received the tax credit in June.

Hatmaker said the township hopes to move forward with some of the demolition this summer.

“It is better for the township to work with this group,” Hatmaker said. “It is always better to have redeveloped buildings than have buildings sitting in the township that are falling apart.”

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