News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 21, 2013

Parks Department develops plan to deal with ash trees

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute Parks Department has to come up with a plan to deal with its ash trees and the future impact of the Emerald Ash Borer, parks superintendent Eddie Bird told parks department board members Wednesday.

The wood-boring beetle, which starves ash trees of nutrients and water by tunneling under bark, has been found in Vigo County.

An infected tree can die within two to five years of when symptoms begin.

Department staff, working with the city forester, will identify location and the number of ash trees in city parks, Bird said.  

“Once we identify them, we will know what we want to do going forward, whether to cut them down or treat them to extend their life,” he said.

It could be expensive to deal with, he said.

There will be a ranking system to determine what trees need to be dealt with right away, and which ones can wait. The process could take several years.

The big concern of the parks department is the dangers created if trees get infected and start to die. “It’s going to be a pretty big thing,” Bird said after the meeting.

“Our concern is if they fall,” particularly those located close to buildings, playgrounds or parking lots, he said.

The board did not have a quorum so it could not act on business.

At its next meeting, it will act on two requests:

• Families by Choice wants to conduct a “Box-in” the night of April 19 at Gilbert Park to raise awareness about homelessness. The organization needs approval to use the park overnight. The event would be a fundraiser for Families by Choice.

• The Purdue Extension Service is requesting use of 2,000 square feet of outdoor space for a community garden at Booker T. Washington Community Center, west of the building. The garden would be 40 feet by 50 feet.

The extension service wants to use the space as an education workshop area and garden. It would offer community workshops, teach children about gardening through Camp Rave and partner with CASY to provide training to day care providers.

Produce would go to the Booker T. Washington kitchen to be served to children. Extra produce would go to area soup kitchens.

The extension would oversee the garden and educational workshops. The parks department would allow use of the space; provide access to water; and provide fencing if needed to reduce vandalism.

The extension currently has two 4-feet by 12-feet raised beds at the site, which means limited production.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or