NORTH TONAWANDA – The City of North Tonawanda was among a select number of communities across the state to receive a share of nearly $930,000 for urban forestry projects awarded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
North Tonawanda will receive $25,000 to conduct a tree inventory of the city. The grant will allow the Department of Youth, Recreation and Parks to hire an outside firm to take an inventory of all trees in its 18 parks and the Deerwood Golf Course.
Patricia A. Brosius, director of youth and recreation, said she and Michael Zimmerman, executive director of Lumber City Development Corp., prepared the grant.
She said the grant is not related to any past storm damage funding.
“We wanted to find out the condition of our trees, their ages, where we need to plant or where some need to be taken down,” Brosius said. “We need to know if there is any disease in them. We need to know what kinds of trees we have, which we need to replace, and if we need to diversify.”
The mapping study is a stepping stone to allow the city to apply for other related state grants.
“We really don’t know anything about our trees and in order to get any more grants, you have to have a basic inventory. This is where we are starting,” she said.
Brosius said they will be able to tag trees and identify them and then have valuable information for the future.
“There may be trees with hangers in them that have to be removed so it’s not dangerous for anyone in our parks,” she said.
“We can find out how many ash trees we have and if they are diseased or what to do to prevent the disease (caused by infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer). Hopefully, we can get a managing tool grant, so that after we categorize them, it will be in our computer. We will be able to go to, let’s say, tree number 541 and remove it or that kind of thing,” she said.
She said it is not known at this point how big a project it will be because officials are not sure how many trees there are in the city. A specialized company will be hired to catalog the trees.
“It all depends on when this money comes in when we can get rolling,” she said.
Brosius said North Tonawanda had been on the waiting list for two years, after being passed over for the grant.
North Tonawanda was one of 40 communities out of 145 applications that were selected for the urban forestry grant and the only Niagara County community on the list in this round.
In Erie County, the City of Tonawanda, Elma, Lancaster and Newstead, as well as the county as a whole, received similar forestry grants.