City Arborist Gives Ash Tree Removal Update

An ash tree along West Seventh Street that has lost some of its bark because of the invasive species known as the emerald ash borer. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The city of Jamestown is more than halfway through its removal of more than 200 ash trees because of the invasive species known as the emerald ash borer.

On Tuesday, Dan Stone, city arborist, updated the City Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commission on the removal of around 215 ash trees in the city’s urban forest because of the invasive species. He said so far around 132 ash trees have been removed from terraces along city streets. He added, overall, parks employees will be cutting down around 215 ash trees.

In October, Stone reported to the Jamestown City Council the news that the Parks Department was going to remove more than 200 ash trees in the city because of the invasive species. The emerald ash borer is an insect originating from China that uses the ash tree as food when it is in the larval stage.

The larva will burrow through the tree, cutting off food and water from reaching all areas of the tree causing it to eventually die.

Stone said the emerald ash borer was first discovered in New York in Randolph about 10 years ago. He said the emerald ash borer doesn’t attack other types of trees.

Most of the ash trees in the city were planted in the mid-1990s, Stone said. He said about 10 years ago, when the problem with the invasive species was discovered, city officials stopped planting ash trees. He added that the parks department has been preparing and planning for the cut down.

In October, Stone told the council that trees would be cut down along Euclid Avenue, Falconer Street, Prendergast Avenue, Prospect Street, Sampson, South Main Street and West Seventh Street.

Stone said city officials have received more assistance this year from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to help replace some of the trees that will be removed. He said normally the foundation funds the city $5,000 a year for their tree planting program. He said this year the foundation increased the total to $7,000. He added city officials will be able to purchase 30 to 40 more trees this year thanks to the additional funding from the foundation. Stone said he has also investigated submitting an application for grant funding from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

More than 13,000 city-owned trees line Jamestown streets. The total does not include the trees in city parks. People can make a tax-deductible donation toward the city’s urban forestry fund through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation by sending a check to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, 418 Spring St., Jamestown, NY 14701. For more information, visit crcfonline.org or jamestownny.net.

In other business, Julia Ciesla-Hanley, city recreation coordinator, told the commission the city has been selected to receive a matching grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. With the funding, with the amount yet to be determined, but will be between $50,000 to $250,000, a second outdoor skate park will be constructed in the city. The new skate park will be constructed near the Parks Department garage, which is located near the underpass at the Sixth Street Bridge that leads to McCrea Point Park to the north or the West Gate Plaza to the south. Ciesla-Hanley said city officials will be working with Pete Scheira of Jamestown Skate Products on the grant. She said a more formal announcement about receiving the grant will be made by city officials later this month.

The commission also voted for their officers for 2019 during the meeting. Cindy DiNapoli has been voted to be the chairwoman, John Bauer has been selected to be the vice chairman and Christine Prinzi will be the secretary for the commission this year.

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