City in­stalls planters on Main Street to re­place van­dal­ized trees

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By KARIE SIM­MONS ksim­mons@ches­pub.com

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.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY KARIE SIM­MONS

The city re­cently re­placed a few of the trees on Main Street with planters filled with flow­ers.

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