Danville planting trees

Danville planting trees

DANVILLE — While they aren't yet big enough to provide a splash of vibrant fall color, Peggy Wheeler was happy on her walk Friday to see the newly planted trees lining the parkway strip along a five-block section of Williams Street.

This week, city workers planted more than 20 trees mostly along Williams from Harmon Street to Logan Avenue, between the sidewalk and the street. Others were planted just off Williams on side streets.

Steve Lane of the Danville public works department said he had been considering Williams Street for new trees. In the last several years, the city has removed several old-growth trees along the street that were dead, decaying or dangerous. Also, he said the parkway strip is wide there, 12 feet across, without a lot of above- or below-ground utilities to avoid.

"It just needed something," Lane added.

Wheeler walks that route a lot on her way to the Polyclinic on Logan Avenue. She said she loves when trees turn colors in the fall, so she's looking forward to these trees providing that beauty and some shade.

"I need shade," she said.

There will be 28 trees planted altogether with several more arriving next week, Lane said. Keep Vermilion County Beautiful won a $5,000 grant to purchase the trees, which are native Illinois species. The grant was one of 30 sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and the United Parcel Service for tree-planting initiatives in urban and suburban communities throughout the country. The UPS grants are part of UPS's Global Forestry Initiative designed to plant more than 1 million trees around the world by the end of 2013.

About 15 local UPS employees from the distribution facility in Tilton were to join Keep Vermilion County Beautiful volunteers Saturday morning to finish spreading mulch around all of the trees. Lane said the 28 trees are a wide variety of species, including swamp white oak, Kentucky coffee, scarlet oak, redbuds, ironwood and hedge maple. He said it's best to use a wide variety, otherwise a disease or an insect, like the emerald ash borer, could wipe out a large concentration of trees.

Lane said this tree planting can play a part in the city's ongoing efforts to become a Tree City USA.

Urbana has received the Tree City USA designation for more than 30 years and Champaign for more than 25 years. The program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation and Illinois Urban and Community Forestry Program in cooperation with the National Association of Foresters and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. To qualify, a community must have an active tree board or department, a tree ordinance, a community forestry program with spending of no less than $2 per capita and an official Arbor Day celebration.

Lane has organized an Arbor Day celebration and an active tree board that has met several times in the last year working toward the goal of the Tree City U.S.A. designation.

He said there's not enough city funding to improve Danville's urban forest like the city would really like to, so grants help toward the spending requirement.

Earlier this year, Keep Vermilion County Beautiful also provided the city with a $1,500 grant from its own local fundraising efforts for 10 trees along Jackson Street. Lane said eight of those have been planted, and two more will be added later.

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