Street Landscape Committee may revise Beautification Awards process

The Street Landscape Committee finished the year with its November meeting, discussing revisions to the Beautification Awards process, the tree tender program, and reviewing 2016 accomplishments.

This year, the committee has accomplished the following: Tom Frair, the city arborist, submitted his comprehensive “State of Warren City Forest” in January. A donor tree was planned, purchased, and assembled in the hallway of the Municipal Building, with donors to the Citizens’ Memorial Tree Fund purchasing engraved recognition on leaves, acorns, and rocks. With the help of Warren’s Garden Club, the committee planted a Purple Flower Locust on Arbor Day near the site of the future bird viewing platform. Committee member Jim Zavinski joined as a liaison between the Street Landscape Committee and City Council. April 22 of this year saw 29 trees planted on the city’s east side, and another 46 were planted in November at sites selected by Frair, A subcommittee met with Warren General Hospital to discuss plans to expand Crescent Park to include a healing garden, lights, and refurbish the restrooms and parking areas. While those plans were approved and a grant was submitted, funding was not secured for this year, so plans for 2017 are to pursue a DCNR grant for that project. The streetscape project on Liberty Street was completed with the first ceremony held at the pavilion on Liberty Street on Nov. 9. The ceremony presented the beautification awards fro 2016 to seven citizens, one business, and one church. Resolution 2984, regarding the Memorial Donations and Gifts Policy was reviewed.

Plans have also been made to attend the online Tree Tender program presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Interest was expressed by several citizens in becoming tree tenders, volunteer urban tree planting and stewards. The program will offer tree care training, covering, biology, identification, and planting/proper care training to those individuals who volunteer to become city tree tenders. The program, said committee chairperson Josie Gerardi, “is a good step forward for communities getting involved with their trees.” Several members of the committee also expressed interest in attending the online training, which is planned for Jan. 15.

It was also agreed that the committee would revise its current criteria and award process for the city beautification awards. Currently, homes are selected and photographed by members of the committee from Warren’s central, west, east, and south neighborhoods. Committee member David Hildebrand suggested moving toward a system of selecting homes from Warren’s seven voting wards.         The committee will also discuss making its selection criteria more precise in January, said Gerardi. The first Street Landscape Committee meeting of 2017 is planned for Jan. 24, 2017.

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