Sidney Arbor Day set for April 29

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Arbor Day in the city of Sidney will be observed on Friday, April 29, 2022, Mayor Mardie Milligan proclaimed at the Sidney City Council workshop session Monday evening.

The proclamation was presented to Brian Green, Sidney street manager/ISA certified arborist. The Arbor Day celebration will be held at Lehman High School on St. Marys Avenue on April 29 at 2:30 p.m.

During the proclamation, Milligan encouraged citizens to consider planting a tree for the benefit of residents and the community. She noted the city has been recognized as a Tree City since 1989, was named a Sterling Tree City, USA in 2019, and is also a member of Tree City USA.

Arbor Day was established, Milligan said, when J. Sterling Morton made the proposal in 1872 to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture for a special day to be set aside for the planting of trees.

“Trees of the community are a vital part of our local environment providing erosion control, oxygen supply and wildlife habitat, and are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products,” said Milligan during the presentation to Green. “Trees and the urban forest make our neighborhoods more inviting and attractive and cause new home buyers to want to live in our community, be willing to pay more for a house and therefore are a foundation stone for our community’s economic development efforts.”

Also part of Monday’s presentation, Green provided an urban forestry update for council members that included a PowerPoint presentation detailing Arbor Day, Tree City USA items, tree plantings, tree removals and 2022 programs and goals.

He told council Sidney has been named a tree city for the 33nd consecutive year, and the second year the city has received Tree City’s Growth award.

He also announced Sidney’s Arbor Day celebration at Lehman High School, where a red oak tree will be planted. He provided information for council to review about the benefits and values of urban trees and on tree pruning standards.

Green displayed maps for council on the city’s street tree pruning schedule. He also reported there are approximately 70 remaining ash trees remaining in Sidney. There are still “some pretty healthy ash trees left” in the city, he said. The city removed 21 ash trees in Sidney in 2021. The city is expected to remove more trees in 2022, no estimated number given. Some will be taken down by city staff; trees with a 15-inch-diameter at breast height (DBH), or greater, will be contracted out for removal, Green said. Contractors do not remove any trees without permission, he emphasized.

Since 2016, Green said they have planted 305 trees in Sidney. There were 32 trees planted in 2020 and also 32 planted in 2021. For 2022, they have increased the budget, allowing for 48 trees to be planted in 2022.

Council member Scott Roddy asked what the city does with the wood when they take down trees, and what type of trees are typically planted by the city. Green said they leave the wood out between the sidewalk and street for first come first serve to be given away; after a few days if any is left they will come by and pick it up. Green also told him they plant hardy, native trees to the Sidney area, such as maple and oak trees.

The tree purchase program was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and then resumed later than normal in 2021, resulting with 47 trees sold. The new tree lottery program started in 2021, was highly successful, Green said, as many residents wanted trees in their tree lawn area.

In other business, Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth reviewed the upcoming Zoning Board/Planning Commission Agenda for Monday, April 18, 2022. City Manager Andrew Bowsher provided a review the prospective City Council agenda items for the next 30 days.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]