Trees and trails at Greenspace meeting
By Stephanie Johns
Trees and trails were discussed during the recent meeting of the Madison Greenspace Commission.
Vice Chairman Rick Crown shared details about their Right of Way (ROW) tree sites. Sites include Academy Street, Foster Street, Old Post Road, Plum Street, and Atlanta Highway.
He noted that some of the ROW trees will be Princeton Elms. These are really great trees, he said, because they are fast growing and resistant to Dutch Elm disease.
Crown later explained that once a year he does a quick survey of the ROW trees. He takes into consideration requests made by the public throughout the year as well as comments from his fellow Commissioners. He then drives around and determines possible trees and placements for those trees.
Now that Commissioners have discussed his survey, the next step in the process will be to contact the city’s horticulturist, Erin Tewksbury, he said. Tewksbury will determine the location of any underground utilities at the proposed sites. Planting of the ROW trees should take place in January 2013.
Commissioners also approved Ricketts Grants applications for 14 trees to go to 10 applicants. Crown later said that these plantings also will happen in January 2013.
Applicants will pay half the cost of the tree and commit to maintaining the tree, primarily through watering, Crown said. He noted that the city pays the other half of the cost of the trees and plants them for the applicants.
Commissioners also spoke about their trail project. Chairman David Land presented the Commission’s project to the Madison City Council in November and received the council’s approval to pursue a Department of Natural Resource’s grant to assist with the project.
In a later interview Land explained that the proposed trails would start from one leg of the informal cemetery trail near the railroad embankment. It would go over the eventually piped ditch through the cemetery to the northeastern corner or boundary of the cemetery. The trail would then loop towards the West Washington Street side of the cemetery and return to near the railroad embankment. Finally, it would connect back to the cemetery trail leg near the Confederate graves.
As to the ditch that runs through the middle of the cemetery, Land said that while the city has put in some pipe there, some people throw trash such as plastic flowers into it. He shared that erosion occurred there as well.
Once the ditch is piped they would put in trees to form an allee, he said. According to Britannica.com, an “allee” is a “feature of the French formal garden that was both a promenade and an extension of the view.”
He noted that a portion of the grant, if they get it, would allow them to use ground-penetrating radar to look for unmarked graves in the cemetery. The information provided by the radar would allow them to divert the trails around graves.
City Planning Director Monica Callahan reminded those present that the Commission is in the middle of its Tree Challenge. They are halfway – $495 – to their $1,000 goal, she said, noting that they still have two more months to go.
Printed in the December 27, 2012 edition