The city continues to invest in urban forestry.
This time, it’s in stump grinding and removal.
The South Milwaukee City Council last Tuesday approved spending around $20,000 for the grinding of 196 tree stumps in street right of way and restoration of those areas. That includes 116 stumps from trees removed by property owners prior to 2014 — when ordinance changes stepping up the city’s ownership of street trees went into effect — and another 80 from trees removed by the Street Department in 2014 and 2015.
Removing dead and diseased trees like this is part of our ongoing commitment to this service, and we have a long ways to go, both in tree removal and replanting. But we’re making progress.
Removal will continue for years. A quick drive around town shows just how many dead or dying trees we have in the right of way in South Milwaukee.
And we’re making progress toward replanting.
Year one of the Arbor Day program was a big success, and we’ll bring it back in 2016.
We have to do more. The Beautification Committee will help.
One of its top duties will be to assist in tree planting efforts, including advising on a community tree management program (per Tree City USA requirements), coordinating an Adopt a Tree program for area residents, leading the Arbor Day celebration, and helping secure private funding for city tree planting efforts.
Want to join the committee? There is still time to apply. Please do so this week here.
The city is making real progress as we begin to implement our urban forestry program.
Our Engineering and Street Departments — among others — are working hard to take on this new city service, and I’m proud of what’s they’ve done. As I’ve written before, I think this is the right thing to do, and I wholly support our work in this area. In fact, I want to see us expand it, creating a true urban forestry program that includes added manpower and a clear replanting plan.
But first things first: tree removal and pruning. Here is an update on how those are going …
- Since the council adopted the revised tree ordinance and policy in May, a tree inventory has been used to identify trees that the Street Department could potentially remove based on diameter, equipment, training and experience (typically trees 16 inches in diameter and less). Street Department personnel had to review each tree and have removed 35 trees this season, as of August 15, inlcluding a number downtown.
- We have begun more focused work in the First District, as this will be done in phases. The Engineering Department has reviewed all trees identified as dead or in poor condition to determine if trees are considered public or private under the adopted city ordinance. Some property owners were sent a letter stating that a tree is in need of removal or pruning, or that the tree was considered private, but that its condition was potentially hazardous.
- In all, there are 75 “public” trees in the First District that should be removed based on their condition, ranging from 17 to 49 inches in diameter. The trees (28 ash, 11 silver maple, 12 Norway maple and other species) are dead or in very poor condition.
- Another 24 public trees are identified for pruning due to dead branches or other issues (height).
- We are now seeking a contactor to remove the 75 trees, including stump removal, and do pruning work. Removals will be done by Dec. 1, weather permitting, with stump grinding possible in 2015.
- Work is expected to move to the Second District in 2015.
Our city engineer has also put together a good Q&A document about our urban forestry efforts. Check it out here.
And I’ll continue to keep you posted on the progress we’re making.