After years of removing dying ash trees from the Winamac Town Park, park officials are now beginning to look into replacing them.
Park Manager Dave DeLorenzo brought the issue to the park board Thursday.
He estimated that 90 to 95 trees have been lost to the emerald ash borer, although there are some that remain. He asked the park board about working with the Tree Committee to gradually plant a variety of new trees over the next few years.
Board members generally agreed with his proposal, but Jon Chapman suggested doing some planning before planting. “I’d be in favor of a systematic plan that you feel comfortable with, of a certain number a year, to be determined by size,” Chapman said, “so that we have a plan so that we don’t leave future generations with a bunch of large trees that may all die within a few years and not have anything that’s providing shade.”
Board Member Pat Bawcum suggested planting about 20 trees a year for the next five years, while DeLorenzo was thinking of a more gradual approach. Board President Chris Schramm asked about simply setting a dollar amount for tree replacement, but Board Member Brad Zellers suggested waiting. “I’d say see where we’re at,” Zellers said. “I mean, the money is in the budget to be able to do that. Let’s see what happens this year, and maybe we can just set an annual amount to do that.”
Meanwhile, DeLorenzo said he’s working with Don Darda from the Winamac Tree Committee to simplify the process for people to donate memorial trees.