Tree Committee plants roots in neighborhood

Monday July 15, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- When the house that used to stand at the corner of Canal Street and Clark Street was torn down Rosamond Blake thought the newly vacant lot would make a fine site for some new trees.

The patch of land, which is directly across the street from The Sportsman's Lounge, is located on the edge of the Clark-Canal Neighborhood, which is a densely packed area of town with very few other open green spaces.

"I saw this blank space, with an urban feel and thought it could benefit from some shade and beauty," Blake explained Saturday morning as she met on the site with members of the Tree Advisory Committee.

Blake, who is not a member of the advisory committee, went to a committee meeting and offered her suggestion.

She went to the town clerk's office to find the owner of the property and contacted him.

He was supportive of the plan of planting a few trees on the lot and the committee met there on Saturday to have a look and make a plan to try to get the trees planted this fall.

The Brattleboro Tree Advisory Committee is a volunteer, Selectboard appointed group that oversees tree-related issues in town. The group assists town staff members to make sure trees are well cared for and safe, they maintain an inventory of the older trees in town and print a walking map, and every now and again, whenever they have an opportunity, they plant trees.

The group has planted more than 300 trees over the years.

"There is so little space around this neighborhood," said former Tree Advisory Committee member Martin Webster. "There are very few strips of land. Lawns are nonexistent. It's tough. That's why this piece is so exciting."

Blake, Webster, former committee member Helene Henry and committee member Anne Brinton had a copy of the property map Saturday morning and they peered out across the parcel imagining the trees that might do well there.

Webster, who is a tree landscaper, said the parcel was especially ripe for some healthy tree planting because there were no utility lines or poles nearby, and there appeared to be a deep foundation of earth underfoot to support the trees.

There was a fire hydrant and a state highway sign on the parcel, but Webster did not think those would get in the way.

The group thought three red maple trees would create a nice, shady canopy for the corner.

Webster thinks it will cost about $600 to purchase the trees, with all of the landscape preparation and digging time donated by volunteers.

Webster thinks that if the plan is approved by the property owner, then the trees could be planted in the fall.

Henry said the trees that are on state or town-owned land are much harder to work with due to regulations.

A site like the one on the corner of Clark and Canal, which is privately owned, gives the group more flexibility and it is always quicker and easier to get projects done there.

She agreed that the absence of overhead lines, the support the group has from the owner, and the large parcel of land make it a perfect place to plant three trees that could be around long after all of the members of the tree committee are gone.

"I think the sky's the limit here," she said.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.


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