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Mayor hopes for more greenery
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MONROE - Mayor Louis Armstrong has announced an initiative for next year in which 217 or more trees should be planted throughout the city.

"I thought this would be a good way to get everyone involved," Armstrong said.

The initiative, 217 trees in 2017, plans to promote more green space in Monroe. One of these methods is through promoting the spring/fall terrace planting program organized by the Monroe Parks and Recreation Department.

Throughout the past year, City Forester Paul Klinzing has updated the city on tree removal due to the emerald ash borer, a metallic green beetle that kills ash trees as it feeds under the bark of the plant. The city has removed more than 80 trees in the past two years. The program helps to alleviate the reduction in greenery by offering trees for individuals to purchase and plant along the terrace, the green space between the street and their lawn.

Armstrong plans to allow residents to buy their own tree or pay to sponsor a tree, and promote use of the terrace planting program as well. The initiative also aims to encourage others to plant seeds on their property or around their business.

Armstrong also wants to include local businesses. A recent mailing he sent out explains to area shops and businesses how each entity can sponsor tree plantings throughout the city which may even require some volunteer work if enough donations are given.

"The hope is to grow the community, both literally and figuratively," Armstrong said. The mayor said he plans to plant at least 22 trees personally, either at his home or throughout the city.

Armstrong noted the request for more green space in the recently adopted Monroe Comprehensive Plan. In the Land Use portion of the plan, beautification is specifically mentioned, with a focus on the inclusion of trees, bushes and flowers along the roadways.

"This is driven from the Comprehensive Plan," Armstrong said. "One of the driving influences was the entrances of the city. There were a lot of comments made about their appearance."

An Arbor Day "kickoff celebration" is planned for April. Armstrong wants to raise more attention to the effort and exceed 217 trees planted.

Trees through the planting program come in a variety of types and are available to buy from the city for spring planting until April 7. Residents can buy London Plane, Hackberry, Regal Prince Oak, Turkish Hazelnut, Cleveland Select Pear and Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac trees for $55 to $155.

Armstrong said the Green County Land and Conservation Department sells 10 seedlings for $2 each that he hopes community members will use as a resource to grow trees along other parts of their property.

Anyone looking to report numbers can call the Parks and Recreation Department to notify the city of a tree they planted or to make a request to purchase one for city workers to plant along the terrace.