FB&T teams up with city, Norm’s Greenhouse
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
So says a popular Chinese proverb. But modify that a bit: when older, mature trees must be replaced with new trees, saplings, the best time to plant is now.
Such is the case for Sixth Street (U.S. Highway 14) where it runs through Brookings. If there’s a downside to the recently completed improvements to and widening of the street, it’s the forced removal of mature trees on the boulevards of both sides of the street.
Now, however, there’s a nearly completed initiative by First Bank & Trust teaming up with the City of Brookings and Norm’s Greenhouse & Nursery in Aurora to replace more than 30 trees – by planting them in yards along the street. The trees have been placed in yards from First Avenue through 14th Avenue.
“I think people were looking forward to a revamped Sixth Street,” said Tom Fishback, market president of First Bank & Trust, Brookings, of the genesis of the re-treeing project. “But I don’t think anyone was really excited about losing those mature trees that draped over Sixth Street.
“We just thought it would be a nice gesture for the community. And our bank is located on Sixth Street; we thought people might appreciate some trees to replace the ones that had to be removed due to the project,” Fishback added.
“We love to see progress in Brookings. And the improvements to Sixth Street are certainly important to our city’s infrastructure and to accommodate our city’s growth; but the removal of so many mature trees, albeit necessary, was a disappointment to many.
“We decided to offer trees for any property that had room for them along that stretch of Sixth Street.”
Fishback took his proposition to the city, which then sent letters to residents living along Sixth Street. FB&T paid for the trees. Allen Kruse, arborist for the City of Brookings, met with some homeowners and rental owners and “marked out where I thought we had room for trees and where to locate them … and gave them a list of trees that could be planted.”
Out with the old, in with the new
“They’re new trees,” Kruse explained. “Of course, the boulevards are kind of narrow, so we decided to have them put in the yards if they wanted them.
“Most of the homeowners that responded were interested in having multiple trees planted. I worked with them to ensure proper spacing for the health of the new trees, as well as their existing ones.”
The variety of trees offered included lindens, oaks, locust, maple, and some hybrid elms that are Dutch Elm disease-resistant.
“We don’t plant ash and now they’ve come out with some trees that are resistant to Dutch Elm disease,” Kruse explained. “Of course, I don’t mean it’s guaranteed, but they’re probably not going to get it. Chances are pretty slim.”
“It’s a great gesture,” said Tom Bozied, owner and operator of Bozied’s Gas Stop, at the corner of Sixth Street and Medary Avenue; he took a total of five trees, which were placed in the yards of his properties on Sixth Street. He thanked Tom Fishback for taking the initiative on the project.
The new trees came from and were planted by Norms. On average they’re about 8- to 12-feet tall and when mature will be 45- to 65-feet tall. “Some might be a little shorter than that. But they’re shade trees, so they will be on the bigger side,” Kruse said. Three trees remain to be planted and should be as weather allows; however, if that’s not possible, they’ll be planted in spring.
“We know these shade trees will not only benefit the homeowners but beautify our city for years to come,” said Van Fishback, board chairman of FB&T. “We were thrilled by the number of homeowners who requested trees, not to mention appreciative of the expertise Allen Kruse provided.
Contact John Kubal at firstname.lastname@example.org. First Bank & Trust contributed to this report.
COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register