The Saugerties Village Tree Commission hopes the board will set aside $2,000 in “seed money” to raise trees that would be used to enhance village streetscapes.
The usual source for village trees is local nurseries. The tree commission hopes to become more self-sufficient and save money in the long run by using village property to grow its own trees. The suggestion comes at a time when village trees are being cut down in high numbers due to the infestation of the emerald ash borer. Recently three grand ash trees had to be cut down at the village beach. A number of ash trees at the Kiersted House were also infested and had to be removed.
The tree commission was formed in 2010 to take an inventory of village trees and manage their removal and replacement when necessary. Tree commissions are common in surrounding towns, and a functioning commission is a requirement of the “Tree City USA” designation which allows municipalities access to grant money for tree management. While such commissions are common, calls to neighboring towns revealed that none have their own tree nurseries.
“Our goal is to create a wonderful vibrant village landscape that our community will be proud of,” said commission member Rosemarie Brackett.
But Brackett anticipates this goal being a tough one. “Our village trees have been in need of care for too many years. [There] are more trees that are being cut down than are being planted. There are so many tree stumps, [which] is creating a neglected appearance for the village.”
If the $2,000 is built into the budget, which is currently being prepared and should be ready for introduction in April, Brackett said some of the funds will also be used to buy “larger, more shapely trees.”
In the past when trees have been cut down or fallen down because of a storm, the lack of funds has forced the commission to replace many of the larger trees with much smaller ones, Brackett said.
Volunteers would manage the tree farm, so there would be no taxpayer expense, said Brackett. The farm could be used to educate children on tree planting and upkeep as well.
Brackett said she also hopes to get grant money, which would supplement any money the village would budget for the commission, “and donations of bushes and trees from local growers as well.”
“All our planning is still in the early stages,” Brackett said, “but it’s all really beginning to bud.”
To join the commission or donate funds or trees to the commission, call Brackett at 246-9045, or Mary at the village hall at 246-2321 ext. 1.