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Ralph Kline: Tree replacement will be a long-term investment for city

As we celebrated Arbor Day nationally last week, we are reminded of the importance of trees within our community.

Not only do they provide year around beauty with their various blooms and seasonal colored leafs, they provide many other benefits that we often overlook.

According to statistics, a mature tree each day provides oxygen sufficient enough for four people to continue to breathe.

In addition, that tree would absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide as well as many other air pollutants a year; one of the key solutions to climate change that is now being debated internationally.

In addition, there are many other benefits that we seldom pay attention to that actually affects our pocket books. The shade provided and energy absorbed by a tree can lower your home’s or business’ utility bills.

Think about it, would you rather dine in the full heat of the sun in mid-summer, or in the shade of a tree or an awning?

Needless to say, there are times when it comes down to the right tree or plant in the right place. Dealing with messy berries and/or leaves are not only an inconvenience, but can become costly if your flooring is ruined with stains, or the storm and sanitary sewers become clogged with leaves.

Additionally, if you have trees scraping against your awnings, roof, and gutters, they can cause damage to your home and business.

This year, the City of Ironton, with the partnership of Ironton in Bloom, is making a large and concerted effort to address its urban trees in the downtown and Etna Park areas of the city.

Because of leveraged resources of all the community partners and businesses, many of the older and most damaging trees in the downtown are being replaced.

As we have gained knowledge and learned from our experiences, the replacement trees will not be a “One Size Fits All” type that was often planted in Ironton as well as many urban communities in the past.

Instead, trees and plantings are being selected from available plant types that hopefully fit the location that they are replacing, taking into consideration such things as root spread, sun conditions, watering needs, location to buildings, awnings, signs, utility lines and street lights. (To learn more, visit the Ironton and Bloom Website)

You probably have noticed several trees have or are being cut and prepared for replacement. Soon, there will be a grinding of stumps verses waiting a year or two for a cut tree to rot sufficient enough to remove it without damage to our sidewalks. Then, preparation will be made to plant the replacement. The goal is to have all tree replacements made before our annual Memorial Day parade so Ironton can continue to shine before our nation.

Ironton in Bloom members, armed with information provided to us from an urban arborist, have walked our streets and come up with general recommendations for replacements based upon conditions at these respective locations.

However, before final tree purchases are made, a representative of Ironton in Bloom and/or the city will attempt to visit the affected businesses so that we can include in final planting plans any past problems businesses may have been experienced related to the trees, and any future plans of businesses with such things as awning, signage, lighting, traffic visibility, etc.

Although, like any home or business renovation, the temporary disruption and inconvenience we are experiencing with these improvements will pay many dividends for our future generations.

Ralph Kline is a member of Ironton in Bloom and assistant executive director of planning for the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO.