City installs planters on Main Street to replace vandalized trees
In an attempt to curb vandalism, city officials replaced a handful of trees on Main Street with planters filled with flowers.
The change comes after years of trees being damaged, sometimes due to natural causes, but mostly because people have been snapping the branches and hanging on the trees, said Parks and Recreation Director Joe Spadafino.
He said the city has replaced dozens of trees on Main Street over the years, but with a price tag of $125 to $200 for each tree, the method became too costly. Instead, the city recently installed eight self-watering planters downtown with annual flowers that will be changed out at the end of the summer season. The planters get filled with water once a month and periodically bring the water to the roots of the plants.
“We think the planters are going to bring a nice variety and nice color to Main Street,” Spadafino said.
Trees have had a long history downtown, according to Spadafino, who said Bradford Pear trees once lined the streets. However, that species was weak and its branches were brittle, frequently breaking off during storms and for other reasons. He said the city decided to replace them with a different variety of younger, smaller trees and dug new tree pits to protect them.
A number of the trees are still doing fine, but Spadafino admitted Main Street is a harsh environment. He said the heat index of the soil is high due to the surrounding sidewalks and streets, making it difficult for many species of trees to survive.
“It has to be a pretty resilient tree,” he said.
Spadafino said the city is not doing away with trees downtown entirely, and there are plans to plant more trees in a few of the empty pits, such as those in front of Klondike Kate’s. He said the planters were merely installed to cut down on costs, curb vandalism and bring variety to the downtown core.
“We’re hoping we have success with this program and if everything works like it’s supposed to, it’s going to be a nice change for Main Street as far as the landscape goes,” Spadafino said.
The city recently replaced a few of the trees on Main Street with planters filled with flowers.