What to do with all the flood buyout property that the city of Hannibal will soon be taking possession of?
What to do with all the flood buyout property that the city of Hannibal will soon be taking possession of? A portion of it could be used to start a city-owned tree farm.
The idea has local support.
“It’s certainly worth trying,” said Kristy Trevathan, a member of the Hannibal Tree Board.
“I’d like to try it,” said City Manager Jeff LaGarce, noting that the venture would save on the cost of trees that the city annually plants and will enhance Hannibal’s application to retain its Tree City USA certification.
Whether the plan moves forward or not depends on the soil content at the site selected will actually be suitable for trees.
“We don’t want it to be clay,” said Ed Tamerius, a member of the Hannibal Tree Board.
The proposed farm will be on property near the Bowling Avenue and Carr Street intersection, where a mobile home park once was located.
The preliminary plan is to plant approximately 570 trees at the location. Those trees would come through a program offered by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Because they would be bought in bulk, it is estimated the per tree cost would amount to less than 30 cents each.
“I see this being real cost efficient. Even if we had another drought and lost a quarter of our trees, we’d be out just $80,” said LaGarce.
LaGarce envisions a variety of trees being planted.
“I’d like to see us diversify as much as possible,” said the city manager. “I don’t want there to be just two species like Noah’s ark. I’d like to have more than four or five.”
Only a quarter of the trees would be harvested each year. The plan is to use the harvested trees on just city property.
“I can see this providing us with an almost never-ending supply of trees,” said LaGarce.
For the plan to work, other hurdles must be cleared.
“There will be labor involved,” said Tamerius. “There’s a lot more to it than just putting a tree in the ground. There’s watering, weeding and spraying that will need to occur.”
One reason the Warren Barrett/Patchen site is appealing is because it is hoped that water from nearby Bear Creek can be pumped out and utilized for irrigation. And as for the manpower necessary to keep the property from becoming overgrown, LaGarce suggests it might be a good task for people participating in the Police Department’s Municipal Court Work Program. It’s also been suggested that volunteers or a local Scout Troop looking for a community project might like to help.
Consideration is also being given to providing arborist training for a member of possibly the parks or street departments.
“That would be a wonderful opportunity to have someone who could give us guidance on planting,” said Trevathan.
If the idea does take root, LaGarce would like to see at least some of the trees used for the beautification of certain thoroughfares. Some trees could be used on other tracts of flood buyout property.