Sycamore City Council approves tree planting program bid

September 18, 2018

SYCAMORE – For more than a decade, Sycamore has held a Tree City USA designation with the Arbor Day Foundation because of its residential tree buying and planting program. The effort will continue after the City Council voted, 7-0, to award a bid for this year’s tree planting program during its meeting Monday night.

Fourth Ward Alderwoman Virginia Sherrod was absent.

Second Ward Alderman Pete Paulsen said he started the program years ago because trees enhance the aesthetics of the community. Not only does the program help keep the community looking good, he said, but it also helps with air quality in the city.

Paulsen said keeping the planting program alive helps the city particularly in situations where invasive species kill a large number of trees in the city and necessitates new trees to be planted in their place, as was the case with the emerald ash borer beetle invading Sycamore about five years ago.

“They took a lot of trees in town,” Paulsen said. “So, it’s a great opportunity to plant some new ones.”

The city opened bids for the program last week and received only one bid of $18,020 from Stran’s Garden Center and Landscaping, 1070 E. State St. Residents interested in participating in the program can buy from a list of 10 trees to be planted in the front yard.

The city pays for half of the cost of the tree and planting as part of the program. Residents can pay $200 a tree to have a Kentucky coffee tree planted. They also can pay $178 a tree to have a skyline honey locust, State Street Miyabe maple, Sienna Glen maple, Marmo Freeman maple, Autumn Blaze maple, common hackberry, Princeton elm, Triumph elm or Patriot elm planted.

Orders will be taken at the city clerk’s office, when the resident will receive a stake to be placed in the front yard to indicate the desired location of the tree. The program will be limited to a maximum of one tree a residence through Oct. 2; if there are leftover trees after that, residents will have an opportunity to buy another tree.

Each tree will be planted between Oct. 10 and Nov. 7 and is guaranteed for one year.

Paulsen said the amount spent on the trees is budgeted every year, meaning it doesn’t affect the tax rates of nonparticipating residents. He said the amount the city will spend on the trees this year is typical compared with previous years.

Paulsen said it’s an easy and affordable program for residents to voluntarily take part in. He said he wants to continue to encourage people to participate.

“It just shows our commitment to beautifying the city and encouraging people to participate in it,” Paulsen said.

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