The City of Mount Pleasant will plant 111 trees as part of its yearly spring tree planting program.
A contract with Kankakee Nursery Company of Aroma Park, Ill. for $7,029 was approved by city commissioners at Monday’s meeting.
City Manager Kathie Grinzinger said the trees will be planted in a variety of different places.
“Some of the trees are going into the parks, and some of them go into the street right-of-way,” Grinzinger said. “Some replace trees that were removed because of disease or damage, others are provided to property owners to increase the city’s urban forest when planted in the city’s right-of-way in front of people’s yards.”
This year, Mount Pleasant received 49 applications from property owners requesting a tree as part of the free tree program offered by the department of Public Works.
The commission originally budgeted for 160 trees, and Commissioner Jon Joslin asked why only 111 were being purchased.
“We bid 160 trees of probably 15 different species,” Finance Director Nancy Ridley said. “We said, ‘We want x-of this many, x-of that many, and y-of that many,’ and told each bidder how many we wanted of each tree. No bidder could provide the number of trees we wanted in every species.”
Of the 49 trees Kankakee did not bid on, the next bidder had bid on 24 of those. Ridley asked if they would like to provide those trees, but the company was not interested.
Ridley said there are still adequate funds, and the city could look into a fall planting to be able to plant the remaining 49 trees.
Commissioner Rick Rautenan wanted to know how many trees were removed because of the emerald ash borer problem.
Grinzinger said she wasn’t sure, but could get information on how many trees were affected by the green beetle.
“I’m just thinking once you take the 49 out (for applicants) of the 111, we’re probably just putting a dent into what we’ve had to cut down,” Rautenan said. “It would be nice to find some way to start planting those verses waiting.”
Commissioner Nancy English noted the commission has looked at the planting as a fluff item when trying to balance the budget, and had even considered moving the planting to once every other year, but, in light of recent devastation, now is not the time to cut the program.
Joslin said he was curious if some of these trees would replace those which were pulled from downtown on Michigan and Main streets this fall because of the emerald ash borer, but Ridley said those will be replaced with different trees that are not part of this project, and a separate bid will be sent out.