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Tree project gets started

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Changes in design and the use of volunteer labor will save the city of Jamestown about $75,000 on a tree and landscaping project along the East Business Loop, according to City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf

Schwartzkopf said the original plan for the East Business Loop included the addition of landscaping, shrubs and trees when street reconstruction work was completed in 2013. At that time, the city share of the bid for the landscaping and planting amounted to more than $100,000 and was not approved by the Jamestown City Council.

The current project eliminates everything but the tree planting, Wiles said. The contractor will provide and plant the nursery stock trees, while volunteers put down the landscape fabric and mulch around the base of each tree. City crews will provide any necessary watering through the summer to get the trees started.

Wiles said the Jamestown Lions Club, the University of Jamestown football team and the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are all participating, although more individual or group volunteers would be appreciated.

Work has already begun with soil preparation for the planting of 233 trees of 14 different species on the boulevards and adjacent areas, according to City Forester Doug Wiles. He expects the tree planting work to be completed this week.

"There is no predominant species," he said. "It is a fairly diverse group of trees working towards more regional and local diversity. Increased diversity increases resistance to insects and disease."

Wiles said Jamestown currently has a high percentage of ash trees.

"We don't have the emerald ash borer yet, but the chances are we will get it," he said. "We are set up for the same situation as Dutch elm disease."

Dutch elm disease killed a high percentage of elm trees in the past. The emerald ash borer is an insect pest that was inadvertently transported from Asia to the U.S. that causes the death of elm trees it infests.

Wiles said the mix of trees includes seven species of deciduous trees and seven species of evergreens. The deciduous trees include two varieties of flowering crabapple trees, which Wiles said would add color to the area during the spring.

The cost for the project is about $25,000 with $5,000 paid by the City Beautification Committee. Groups or individuals wishing to volunteer for the project can call City Hall at 252-5900 and ask for the city forester.