In cooperation with the New Albany Tree Board and New Albany City Council, Mayor Gahan moves to improve our local tree canopy and advance a long-term comprehensive plan to protect and manage trees in New Albany.
“Trees in the public area are being threatened by disease and age,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “We will take steps to improve our environment and our health in one coordinated effort in New Albany.”
In early 2017, the City of New Albany received $20,000 through the Community and Urban Forestry Assistance Grant, one of ten municipalities that received the grant throughout the entire northeast region of the Department of Natural Resources. Through this grant, the city was able to complete an inventory of all city-owned trees in the public rights-of-way and city parks. The inventory was then utilized to draft a management plan that provides details on how to improve and maintain the urban tree canopy.
There are currently 7,777 sites that were added to the inventory, including 5,244 current trees, 197 stumps, and 2,336 vacant planting sites. The inventory showed that most of our trees are in decent condition. This is in part thanks to a multi-departmental effort by the city, including hundreds of tree plantings for sidewalk and roadway projects through the Redevelopment Commission, maintenance of current trees by the Street Department, and new proposed legislation that includes Tree Preservation standards like in the new proposed Zoning Ordinance that will be coming to the council soon.
The Urban Tree Canopy was also a focus of the recent Comprehensive Plan, approved in early 2017. The plan called for improvements to the condition of the public urban forest and also laid out steps to reduce the negative impacts of development on the urban forest resource. The plan states that “a healthy urban tree forest not only provides health benefits to city residents, but also provides a habitat for wildlife and beautifies the community. A healthy urban forest also improved local air quality, which is a concern for most communities in the Ohio River Valley region.”
In late October, the city will be utilizing the remainder of the Community and Urban Forestry Assistance grant to plant 50-60 new trees coinciding with the tree management plan.
Tree Board staff member and Chief City Planner Krisjans Streips will speak at tonight’s City Council meeting, providing an update to council members about the current status of our tree canopy and the need to complete the remainder of the Tree Management Plan.