Tree plan drafted by consultant with Missouri Department of Conservation

The creation of a tree-lined corridor of green leaves along Broadway, from the floodwall to Grand Avenue, will likely come down to how many "greenbacks" such a venture will require. Hannibal City Manager Jeff LaGarce, who is a fan of the Broadway tree plan, delivered that realistic assessment to members of the Tree Board during its Wednesday morning meeting at City Hall.

According to LaGarce, the tree-planting plan would consist of three components that would require a cash outlay on the city's part - the purchase of trees, the purchase of structural soil in which to plant trees and the creation of cutouts in the concrete sidewalks where the trees will be planted.

The estimated cost to purchase the recommended 66 trees of assorted species is $13,200, which the city manager called "very affordable."

An estimate was not available Wednesday regarding how much of the special dirt, which greatly enhances a tree's survivability in an urban setting, will be needed.

What has LaGarce most concerned is the potential cost of cutting areas in the sidewalk where trees can be planted. He noted that cutout areas that are 10 feet by 4 feet would be significantly more costly than 4-foot by 4-foot cutouts, such as those on Main Street.

"Ten by 4 (areas) would be very expensive," he said. "At that point it is no longer a tree project. If it costs $150,000 in sidewalks... We do not have that kind of money (for sidewalks)."

LaGarce said money for such a project would not find its way into the city budget until the next fiscal year — 2019-20 — which would not begin until July 1.

Tree Board member Stephan Franke indicated he would not mind seeing the tree corridor project taking from three to five years provided it was "done right."

Aaron Davis of the Street Department proposed doing the tree planting in "waves," where a few blocks are completed at a time.

While the bulk of the tree project will likely not occur until at least 2019, Kyle Monroe, an advisor to the Tree Board from the Missouri Department of Conservation, suggested performing a tree-planting "experiment" sooner using structural soil near City Hall.

The Tree Board approved the plan as submitted on Wednesday morning. The document will now be forwarded on to the City Council for its consideration. It will likely reach that governing body at its Tuesday, Sept. 4, meeting.

The Broadway tree plan was created by Tim Frevert, a consultant with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Frevert's proposed tree list for the corridor includes: 2 Burgundy Belle maples, 11 Happidaze sweetgums, 10 Shawnee Brave bald cypress, 13 Red Rage blackgums, 10 Frontier elms, 5 Patriot elms and 15 European hornbeams.

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