Volume 15, Number 50
Critics and those who are aghast at the clear-cutting for subdivisions and commercial projects often say the town is not doing enough to preserve its trees and tree cover.
But there are two current projects to protect and preserve town-owned trees, those in the right-of-way along town streets, in its parks and around town buildings.
The first was briefly reported in the Gazette last week, a survey and inventory of town trees by Plan-it Geo, a firm specializing in urban forestry, planning and natural resources. Urban Forestry Coordinator Jennifer Rall won a $12,500 grant from the N.C. Forest Service to fund that inventory.
“The tree inventory contractor will be assessing and recording the conditions of the trees they are inventorying,” Rall said recently. “I am having them focus on areas of town that were not previously inventoried. All of the data they collect will be summarized in the urban forest management plan, along with recommendations for maintenance and timeframes for achieving program goals.”
The second program is a tree replacement project on North Main Street where the Historic Preservation Commission voted to use some of the funds from the biennial Christmas home tour to assess and replace trees using Plan-it Geo for the inventory under a different contract managed by Rall.
“Michelle (Senior Planner Michelle Michaels) and I walked the project area and prioritized trees to be removed and planting locations for this first phase,” Rall said.
Other streets in the historic area may be included later, but for now the focus is on North Main with its median. “We evaluated the historic areas this summer and determined that the immediate need for this season is on N. Main Street within the Local Historic District,” Michaels said. “Ms. Rall and I will continue to evaluate the historic areas and make recommendations to the Historic Preservation Commission annually based on existing conditions.”
Rall will soon have the tools and manpower she has been requesting. The town board approved a two-person crew, a bucket truck and chipper. The crew will work out of Wake Forest Power which has experienced tree-trimmers. “As for the new tree trimming crew, one person has been hired and began work this week. We are still advertising/interviewing for the second position. It is my understanding that the bucket truck and chipper have been purchased, and additional equipment to stock the truck will be purchased soon.”