Downtown Ironton gets new trees: Ironton In Bloom, city slowly replacing cherry trees

Published 1:53 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

On Tuesday, there was a ceremony outside Ironton’s City Center to show off new trees planted downtown.

Ironton In Bloom and the city planted two trees and three shrubs as part of a long-term plan for improving both the looks of downtown and to replace some trees that had caused some complaints about berries falling on sidewalks and vehicles.

The city of Ironton is partnering with IIB for the tree replacements.

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Mayor Katrina Keith thanked Ironton In Bloom for all they do for the community and added that simple things like trees and shrubs have a lot to do with economic development.

“Because it is part of that aesthetic appeal. So, when your community is clean and vibrant, people love to be able to come and have an experience,” she said. “That is what we are trying to plant in Ironton.”

IIB member Carol Allen said they have been replacing trees for the past 10 years and that they have come up with a plan that they hope makes it move more quickly and successfully and lets business owners to be involved in the choice.

Ralph Kline, IIB member and assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence CAO, said that the Ironton Downtown Tree Replacement Program is designed so that the trees in Ironton are picked by local people, not some designer in Columbus.

He explained that cherry trees were a very popular choice in the 1970s.

“But they didn’t think about the berries,” he said. “We’ve progressed a lot in the science of these things. We get advice from arborists as to the species of trees, shrubs and grasses that we should plant.”

One of the newly planted trees is in front of Unger’s Shoes and owner Joe Unger chose a white dogwood tree. Catty-corner across the street, Casey and Kimmi Compston purchased a pink dogwood tree to be planted there. The city chose flowering lilac shrubs to replace berry trees, which interfered with the blue awnings that were purchased last year.

“We’re trying shrubs for the first time,” Allen said. “We think they will grow into nice shrubs but can be easily maintained and will be very pretty.”

It isn’t a quick process to replace the trees. The trees that die are left for a year to make sure that when it is pulled out, the roots aren’t wrapped around water or electric lines.

“So, we are working with our downtown business owners who want some trees removed,” Allen said. She added IIB is targeting cherry trees since the berries are getting stepped on and then the juice is getting tracked into businesses and staining sidewalks.

As part of the ceremony, Sallie Schisler, pastor of the Christ Episcopal Church, prayed over the trees and shrubs.

“They always do so well after she does that,” Allen said.