Broad­way sup­port­ers de­bate trees in streetscape

One species to be listed as ‘in­va­sive’ in 2023

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Pay­erchin rpay­erchin@morn­ingjour­nal.com @MJ_Jour­nalRick on Twit­ter

Some Broad­way sup­port­ers said no trees or in­va­sive species, please, as city of­fi­cials con­sider the streetscape plan that would re­model the av­enue from West Erie Av­enue to Ninth Street.

The Lo­rain De­sign Re­view Board on Feb. 13 ap­proved the plans for the Broad­way streetscape project.

Lo­rain Mayor Chase Rite­nauer aims to have the re­con­struc­tion done this year.

The board heard about de­tails from City En­gi­neer Dale Van­der­som­men and Jeff Knopp,

land­scape ar­chi­tect and pres­i­dent of Behnke Land­scape Ar­chi­tec­ture.

The plans gen­er­ally re­ceived fa­vor­able re­views for adding new sig­nage, lights, elec­tri­cal out­lets and wider side­walks along the halfmile stretch of Broad­way.

But the board de­bated the best plants to in­clude and whether Broad­way would be bet­ter off with trees in planters — or with no trees at all.

Once planted, the new trees would be colum­nar, hav­ing more of an up-and­down look than ex­ist­ing trees with leaf canopies that spread out, Knopp said.

The colum­nar na­ture of the new trees will be more up­right and look more like ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments than peo­ple are used to, he said.

Plans in­cluded mul­ti­ple va­ri­eties of trees.

With var­i­ous dis­eases and in­sects that at­tack trees, it is be­com­ing com­mon prac­tice to avoid plant­ing just one kind of tree in a land­scape, Knopp said.

But some res­i­dents were skep­ti­cal about the trees.

De­sign Re­view Board mem­ber Frank Sip­kovsky sug­gested hav­ing trees in mov­able planters to avoid un­der­ground prob­lems with roots.

Carl Nielsen, co-owner of Nielsen Jew­el­ers, 753 Broad­way, noted tree roots grew into a ma­jor prob­lem for

sewer pipes un­der a build­ing oc­cu­pied by one Broad­way mer­chant.

Nielsen also strongly rec­om­mended con­sid­er­ing trees in planters.

At the Crocker Park shop­ping cen­ter, there are trees in mov­able planters, Sip­kovsky said, but board Chair­man Gary Fis­cher said that cen­ter also has street trees planted in the ground.

The trees will of­fer shade for fu­ture out­door din­ing on Broad­way, Fis­cher said.

Sip­kovsky coun­tered that mer­chants could save money and pre­vent headaches by of­fer­ing large shade umbrellas over ta­bles.

Knopp said he did not have a prob­lem with plants in pots.

But trees in planters gen­er­ally have shorter life spans be­cause they dry out faster, get hot­ter in sum­mer and colder in win­ter than trees planted in the ground, he said.

It is pos­si­ble to bury un­der­ground bar­ri­ers that con­fine tree roots, Knopp said.

An ex­act main­te­nance plan is un­clear for the fu­ture fo­liage.

Lo­rain Safety-Ser­vice Di­rec­tor Dan Given sug­gested prop­erty own­ers form an as­so­ci­a­tion that would pay for main­te­nance, be­cause it would be dif­fi­cult for the city to cover costs of trim­ming and care.

Streetscape plans on file with the City En­gi­neer­ing Depart­ment show one of the va­ri­eties of trees for Broad­way is Pyrus calleryana,

com­monly known as the callery pear or the Cleve­land se­lect pear.

The Cleve­land se­lect pear is con­sid­ered an in­va­sive plant species, said Max Schae­fer, north­east Ohio re­gional di­rec­tor for the Ohio En­vi­ron­men­tal Coun­cil.

The tree va­ri­ety’s name sounds like it could be lo­cal to north­ern Ohio.

But it is na­tive to Asia and can spread through nat­u­ral ar­eas due to crosspol­li­na­tion of pear tree flow­ers, ac­cord­ing to on­line re­ports, in­clud­ing the Cen­ter for In­va­sive Species and Ecosys­tem Health.

The callery pear tree is on the new ODA list of in­va­sive species ef­fec­tive Jan. 7.

It will be­come an in­va­sive plant with sale pro­hib­ited in Ohio af­ter Jan. 7, 2023, ac­cord­ing to the Ohio Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

The depart­ment al­lowed a five-year grace pe­riod to al­low Ohio busi­nesses time to al­ter their plans for sell­ing trees, said Dan Kenny, as­sis­tant chief of the depart­ment’s Plant Health Divi­sion.

The new rule does not man­date the re­moval of the trees for Ohio res­i­dents who have callery pear trees on their prop­erty, Kenny said.

Re­mov­ing the trees from the Broad­way streetscape plan “is ob­vi­ously some­thing to con­sider,” he said.

Kenny de­clined to com­ment on spe­cific de­tails of the plans be­cause the Agri­cul­ture Depart­ment is not in­volved in the Lo­rain project.

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