by Tony Zeli
As the debates around the budget demonstrate, resources are scarce in the City. Parks and green spaces are often hardest hit, and the City’s budget has long neglected trees.
There are ways to help the City. Did you know the City will plant a tree for you? It costs money, but you’ll be sure to get just the right tree, and it will be planted by trained City staff.
It is called the Tree Co-op Program. A property owner selects and purchases trees to be planted in front of their own house. The City picks up the tree from a participating nursery and plants it. The cost is $200 plus, depending on the tree. Learn more: http://portlandmaine.gov/611/Co-Op-Tree-Planting-Program.
Residents can help in another way, too.
“Since the City has a limited tree budget, we are looking to you for donations to help bring back a greener neighborhood for all to enjoy,” implores Ian Jacob, President of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) in a recent communication to members.
He and former WENA Pres. Rosanne Graef want help raising money for the West End Tree Trust, a collaboration between WENA, Western Promenade Neighborhood Association and the City.
“In addition to their beauty and contributions to our physical environment, trees also improve many other aspects of our lives. Being able to see trees and other natural elements can speed healing from illness, improve learning and lower stress levels,” notes Rosanne Graef in a note to neighbors.
The Tree Trust was established twenty years ago by the late Stan Bennett of Oakhurst Dairy, who grew up in the West End. Stan raised private funds that supported planting new trees since the 1990s.
An anonymous neighborhood couple has come forward to propose a “Tree Challenge”. They will fund $5,000 to the Tree Trust, specifically for trees to be planted in the West End, and encourage neighbors to join in this effort. Trees and locations throughout the West End will be selected by City Arborist Jeff Tarling.
Contributions should be made payable to the City of Portland and are deductible for income tax purposes. Checks should be sent to WENA, PO Box 7898, Portland, Maine, 04112, to be transmitted to the City.