Group eager to undertake tree replacement project
Nearly five months after a tornado hit town, the Tonganoxie Tree Board is busy putting together plans to replace many of the trees damaged in the storm.
Plans for now will be focused on the area east of the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds extending from Kansas Highway 16 along First Street between the fairgrounds and U.S. Highway 24-40.
"What needs to come out is 30 large trees and stumps that are still left," said Velda Roberts, tree board chairman.
Peruvian Connection, a Tonganoxie-based, direct-marketing company, will help fund the project. A $2,500 grant that the Tree Board recently received from the state Forestry Department will also be applied to the project.
Finding the contractors to do the tree removal will be the first step to begin repairing the area damaged by the tornado.
"I am really anxious to get things going," Roberts said.
One issue to settle is finding a place to dispose of the trees after they are pulled out. That must be hashed out before anything can really start.
"We've talked to several homeowners in the area and haven't received any negative feedback," Jean Lenahan, tree board treasurer, said.
After the street trees are taken out, the tree board plans to replace them with a variety of 70 large trees and 16 medium and small ones.
Ribbons have been tied to the trees that will be removed to let homeowners in the area know which ones are being removed, Lenahan said.
Roberts hopes to get the project rolling and complete this fall, in middle or late November.
"There are other areas that still have storm damage, but we are going to wait until the spring to tackle those," Roberts said.
The amount of money that Peruvian Connection will fund is still uncertain. The board must figure out how much the project is going to cost from contractors first.
"We'll get back with them with costs and set the amount then," Roberts said.
The trees primarily will include varieties of oaks and maples. Redbuds, crabapple and pear varieties also will be planted.
"Any project of this magnitude takes a lot of coordination," Lenahan said. "The tree board is anxious to get things going but has been slowed down because of certain parameters."
Although the tree removal and replanting is the board's top priority, it has several other projects in the works that it hopes to complete in the next year.
The board is working with the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and the district forester to plant trees and shrubs in parks.
The board also hopes to establish a reference shelf at the library. Materials from the Kansas Forest Service and the National Arbor Day foundation and would provide information on trees, shrubs, landscaping, planting and caring for plants.
Tonganoxie received Tree City USA- recognition this year and the board wants to get the recognition again. The replacement of the damaged trees, should help, Roberts said.
But success, she said, will require manpower.
"We would like to develop a good volunteer base so that we can get all these things done along with helping with the landscaping of parks," Roberts said.
"Once we have a broader volunteer base, it would just be a matter of coordinating the groups. It's easy to plant but hard to keep maintaining."