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City of Dayton seeking community input on Main Street trees

Public Comment on Draft Main Street Tree Inventory and Management Plan due April 16

 

April 16, 2020

-Chronicle photo

This site of one of Main Street's London plane trees, near the intersection of Main and Front streets, was one of two locations selected for root-system examination.

DAYTON–The 28 London plane trees on Dayton's Main Street are an important piece of the community's identity and key to the livability of the town. The trees are subject of a lengthy study conducted by a consultant for the City of Dayton, and the City is requesting questions and/or comments from the public.

Input from the public is requested to be received by City Hall no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 2020. The short timeline is due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said City Administrator Trina Cole.

The 82-page draft City of Dayton Main Street Tree Inventory and Management Plan is now available for public inspection and review, available online or by contacting City Hall.

Recently, an inventory of Dayton's Main Street trees was completed, including root-system investigations, and development of a management plan by Community Forestry Consultants, Inc., of Spokane, funded by a U.S. Forest Service grant.

The UFMP is a guide for ensuring that public trees and forests are appropriately cared for according to arboriculture standards and community goals, and for the City of Dayton, the plan will give opportunities for community concerns and address management conflicts. The plan evaluates species composition, maintenance requirements, tree-sidewalk infrastructure conflicts and remediation, and the condition of the Main Street trees.

The City's intent is to improve urban tree management and stewardship in a coordinated, cooperative approach with city departments, program partners, adjoining business owners, and residents.

The consultants inventoried the downtown trees and counted 28 London plane, one cherry plum, one flowering pear and three planting sites on east and west Main Street, from North 4th Street to North Cottonwood Street.

Two sites, at 427 E Main Street and 103 W Main Street, were subject to concrete removal to inspect the root systems, work performed on February 24, 2020.

The total appraised value of Main Street trees is $244,000. None of the trees require pruning maintenance, but two were identified as candidates for removal. There are three sites available for planting.

The survey found that tree grates being imbedded in trunks prompted the recommendation that the four-foot-square tree grates be removed. Other problems include lifted sidewalk panels and a limited open soil area around trees.

The examination of the two sites indicated that the heaved or lifted concrete panels was not due to root pressure but rather the absence of a coarse gravel base under the concrete.

According to the draft report, trees are placed in "tree coffins," which limits tree health through "insufficient soil volume, oxygen level and water availability for roots, where trees grow poorly, live fast, and die young."

The goals of the UFMP, to be accomplished in the next three to five years, include:

-Attain Tree USA status.

-Adoption and implementation of an Urban Forestry Management Plan by Dayton City Council.

-Provide adequate tree maintenance funding to sustain Dayton tree canopy based on council, stakeholder, business owner, and resident input.

-Maximize and expand the urban tree canopy. Create a tree planting plan; promote proper planting of new trees and diversification of species; incorporate tree planting into community planning.

-Coordinate and integrate local urban forestry goals into city and regional planning processes.

-Maintain and update the inventory of Dayton trees to improve management and maintenance of the tree population.

-Review existing tree ordinance to incorporate the recommendations and goals of the city's tree management plan, adopt the ordinance into the city code, and implement ordinance enforcement practices.

-Provide education and public awareness of the importance of the trees to the community; educate city staff, contractors, and the community on proper tree care; and encourage greater participation in tree steward activities.

The study includes citable research that supports the benefits of maintaining trees along Main Street, driver safety, reduction of "aggression and violence," water quality and storm-water retention, air quality, economics of aesthetics, and health and well-being.

Trees in small city business districts influence retail and shopping behavior in positive ways, the report indicates. The results of several studies suggest that trees are good for business. Shoppers prefer trees and consider trees an important amenity. They spend more, shop longer, and are willing to pay more for goods in business districts with mature, healthy trees.

The full draft report is available at http://www.daytonwa.com/images/Public_Works/2020-04-02_Dayton_WA_Urban_Forestry_Management_Plan__040120.pdf.

The Dayton Chronicle erroneously missed publication of a notice of the availability of the draft report, and the deadline for public comment, in its April 9 edition. The City of Dayton received the draft report on Monday, April 6, and the April 16 deadline for comments is inflexible, Cole said.

 
 

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