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This spring, the Huntsville City Council included a Strategic Plan objective to plant 250 trees on public property within the city limits. The City’s Parks and Leisure Department is pleased to report that number has already been met and exceeded and hopes residents have noticed and are enjoying these enhancements.
Parks joined forces with local service organizations and individuals to achieve the goal, and the new vegetation is providing habitat for wildlife and bank stabilization for creeks and is beautifying area parks, according to Parks Manager John Agey.
City Horticulturalist David Zellar worked closely with those who supported the efforts. Donations of time and money came from Mark Erb with Forestry Associates, the Huntsville Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Huntsville, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“These trees are essential to the beauty of our parks,” Zellar said. “Once they are fixed in their new homes, we feed and water them appropriately to ensure full healthy growth.”
Agey said the biggest impact has been at Eastham-Thomason Park, located at 1500 Seventh Street and Avenue N.
“The park is 150 acres overall. Because of its size, we were able to plant a variety of trees, including live oak, Chinese pistache, vitex (chaste tree), and crepe myrtles,” Agey said. “And that doesn’t include the 130 mixed seedlings of oak, elm, and redbud the Rotary Club assisted in placing off Mesquite Street.”
Other locations that have also received attention are in the Town Creek area, with ten live oaks along 16th Street, through a donation from Erb, and by Gibbs Park on Avenue S, with ten roughleaf dogwoods provided by a Rotary Club donation. Agey said staff also worked to get sixteen trees rooted at the Sam Houston Statue and Visitor Center.
“They received holly, vitex, buttonbush, and desert willow. The new trees will enhance the appearance of the recently opened expansion, as well as offering shade and noise control from the interstate and highway,” Agey said.
Parks staff also installed five 15-foot crepe myrtles along Veterans Memorial Parkway. Agey added the City still has 75 seedlings in the nursery that will be cultivated this fall.
Mayor Andy Brauninger was pleased to hear of the successes in a Strategic Plan update from City Manager Aron Kulhavy, which was provided to the full City Council in early July.
“Over 280 trees have been added to our community in recent months; that’s great news,” Brauninger said. “Our area was hard hit by drought a few years ago, so we are very glad to see our environment being restored in this way. Much appreciation to the Parks staff and the generous donors for assisting in these efforts.”
For more information about planting trees, call 936-294-5721.