Greenspace Commission lays out Ricketts tree selection

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By Nick Nunn Staff Writer

Madison Greenspace Commission (GSC) Vice Chair Rick Crown informed the commission of the tree selections for the 2013 The Ricketts Environmental Excellence (TREE) trust.

The types of trees to be purchased this year for the TREE program include the “Little Gem” (magnolia grandiflora), the Grancy Grey Beard (chionanthus virginicus)¸ the Harvest Moon Sugar Maple (acer saccharum x barbatum), and the Georgia Gem Ash (fraxinus pennsylvanica).

Annually, approximately $1,250 of TREE trust funds are spent on acquiring 10 to 15 trees per year. Applicants are chosen to receive the trees purchased by the TREE trust, and they must contribute to the tree’s purchase cost.

Once the trees are delivered, the city of Madison contributes the labor involved in planting the trees, and the new owners are expected to maintain the tree in its new location.

Applications to receive one of the TREE trees are open to both residential and non-residential participants, as well as owners, renters, and previous recipients. The recipients for this year’s trees have not yet been decided.

Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan stated that applications are available by contacting the Main Street & Planning Office. Callahan also brought up her intention to ask the Madison City Council to approve a pre-application for a Land Conservation and Water Fund Grant during their Monday, Nov. 25 meeting.

The grant would be for a total of $100,000, which would have to be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis on the part of the recipient.

Callahan stated that she is considering a list of possible projects for the grant, including a number of GSC-related projects.

Callahan also updated the GSC about a federal $100,000 grant that they were awarded for their cemetery trail project.

Callahan said that, although the grant was awarded months ago, the distribution of the funds has been temporarily held up at the state level due to the recent government shut down.

She did not indicate any time frame for the distribution of the grant funds. GSC Chair David Land also spoke about a project, which was being done by a Morgan County High School Advanced Placement statistics class, which involved student interest in the construction of a skate park at one of Madison’s existing parks.

Land said the statistics class created a questionnaire and administered it to four classes per grade level. He stated that he was not aware of the types of the correlations being drawn by the class for their own purposes, but he hopes that some of their information will be useful to the GSC for deciding where a skate park would be used the most. “Hopefully, we’ll have some interesting information in the next few weeks,” said Land.

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