Letter: Help next phase of city’s urban forest

To the editor:

The completion of the planting in the urban forest in Franklin has not progressed as quickly as we had hoped, due to difficulty of finalizing the demolition of the last three houses that had been flooded. We are however continuing to plant in the available space and the weekend of April 18 will be an opportunity to participate in a really great event.

One of the purposes of this project in the beginning was to provide opportunities for citizen involvement and to increase interaction with Franklin College staff and students.

On Saturday, April 18, due to the cooperation of the Franklin College Athletics Department, under the leadership of director Kerry Prather, and the cooperation of the various team coaches including Mike Leonard, the Franklin College athletes will play a major role in the planting of over 300 trees. This will provide a wonderful opportunity for our community volunteers to interact with these wonderful college athletes.

The event will start at about 9 a.m. with check-in and a short training session led by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources representative. Tools will be provided; however, with the crowd expected it would be a good idea to bring your own shovel if available.

The holes for the trees will already be dug by the Park and Recreation Department maintenance staff.

Hopefully this spring we will also begin to see some positive results with the flowering red buds and dogwoods showing their first blossoms. There are some 40 other species planted to date, all of which are showing good growth. Some 1,500 trees have already been planted and more will be added as the planting seasons permit and the additional property becomes available.

I want to again thank Chip Orner, the Franklin Park and Recreation staff, their leadership and their board of directors, as well as the city council, board of works and Mayor Joe McGuinness for their courage and vision in supporting this project, which will be a long-term fixture in the city of Franklin. It will be awhile maturing but the long term benefits will be great.

Thanks also to the hundreds of people who have volunteered their labor and money in support of the effort to date.

The time donated by volunteers is important in that the man hours spent will assist in qualifying for in-kind contributions in support of grants for the purchase of trees.

Jim Crane