Board wanting to rebuild the tree canopy in Central Park

The city of Hannibal’s Tree Board has made no secret of its desire to restore the tree canopy of Central Park. But in fulfilling that objective the members of the Tree Board don’t want to alienate the Park Board.

During the July meeting of the Tree Board, President Kristy Trevathan proposed that she get on a future Park Board meeting agenda and share the Tree Board’s tree-planting vision for Central Park.

“We want to offer our help while not overstepping our authority,” said Ed Tamerius of the Tree Board.

Trevathan’s name does not appear on the agenda of the next scheduled meeting of the Park Board that is coming up on Thursday, July 20, at City Hall.

During the June Tree Board meeting it was suggested that its tree-planting agenda may not encounter resistance from the Park Board, but the Kiwanis Club which utilizes Central Park for its annual Samuel L. Clemens Arts and Crafts Festival.

“They sell a lot of booths, but there is still room for (more) trees,” said Trevathan. “Trees are a priority.”

According to Trevathan, Andy Dorian, director of the Parks and Recreation Department (P&RD), planned to assess the park this month and identify potential tree-planting locations. She added that Dorian envisions a fall tree planting this year.

Locations for trees may be identified before a decision is made regarding what types of trees will be planted. A variety of oak trees was discussed at the Tree Board’s July meeting. In June, it was proposed that American Linden trees be planted. Support for the planting of dogwoods near the William Henry Hatch statue, located in the park’s southwest corner, was also voiced in July.

“We need to research what would be good and appropriate for Central Park,” said Trevathan.

“This is a chance to add diversity by not just planting maples,” added Tamerius.

Trevathan has indicated a willingness to visit local civic clubs in search of donations that could be used to buy trees for Central Park. During the June 7 Tree Board meeting representatives of the Hannibal Lions Club were in attendance to present the board a check for $250.

“If we could get enough for from five to 10 new trees that would be a good start,” said Trevathan.

Concern for the tree canopy of Central Park was voiced in June after a tree survey conducted in the downtown park in 2005 was reviewed. It revealed that the number of trees in Central Park has dropped from 56 over a decade ago to 31 today.

A major reason for the tree loss was the storm on May 20, 2013. Among the trees that were toppled or damaged beyond saving throughout town by that night’s high winds were seven in Central Park, reported Trevathan.

In May of this year the P&RD had five Central Park trees removed, three of which were dead. Two others – a pair of sycamores located between the sidewalk and curb on the far eastern end of the park – also had to be cut down because their roots were damaging the nearby sidewalk.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com