News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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March 22, 2014

Volunteers spend day planting trees

Work centered along Brown Blvd.

TERRE HAUTE — Blighted, barren and an environmental wasteland is how Terre Haute Urban Forester Sheryle Dell described Brown Bvd. post construction. Saturday morning, the one-mile stretch from Locust Street to Maple Avenue received a makeover with the help of more than 100 TREES Inc. volunteers, city employees and Rose-Hulman students.

The Brown Boulevard Corridor was first developed in 2004 and was modeled after Ohio Boulevard. The purpose of the project is a roadway connection from Brown Avenue and Locust Street to Maple Avenue to provide parallel congestion relief to 25th Street. The corridor was also conceived to establish pedestrian amenities from Ohio Boulevard to Terre Haute North High School. These amenities include a multi-use trail and a boulevard cross section.

The project budgeted $50,000 to plant trees along the corridor. Dell has since envisioned a grander plan that would turn the property from bland to bliss. To get the most bang for the taxpayer’s buck, she designed the project in house. If outsourced she said it could have cost around $250,000. Additionally, Dell went to nurseries and hand selected each tree. Furthermore, the city directly paid for the trees, to prevent any markup. Additional funding was provided by a Department of Nature Resources, Community Urban Forestry grant and a $10,000 donation by TREES Inc.

“This really proves that non-profits and the city working together can really make some substantial improvements in the City of Terre Haute,” TREES Inc. Vice President Brian Conley said.

Phase one of the tree planting took place in the fall of 2013. Over the course of six weeks, 312 trees were installed. Phase two is what brought droves of people outside to plant on a chilly Saturday morning. Senior Rose-Hulman mechanical engineering student Lance Niebrugge said he wishes he had participated in TREES Inc.’s annual tree planting for the past couple years, as it brings him a sense of fulfillment.

“For the last couple years, I have seen this road and it didn’t have anything else around it but trash. Seeing trees being planted here will make this road nicer to drive down,” Niebrugge said.

Rose-Hulman students have been a capstone in the annual tree plantings. Senior mechanical engineer student T.J. Shevchenko said they do weekly community service events, but this one really helps get their name out there. “For the past four years, I have been planting trees around Terre Haute. It is nice to drive around and see the trees, which I had helped to plant,” Shevchenko said.

While many of the students will move away from Terre Haute, they will leave behind a legacy for future generations to enjoy, like Terre Haute resident Glenn Wrightsman. He walks either three hours or nine miles per day and enjoys the new corridor. He said in the summer when it gets really hot, he is appreciative of the part of ISU’s stadium that has trees to provide him shade. While brisking by all the volunteers, he said “I love the trees, and I love what the city is doing here.”

Phase three of the planting portion of the project will take place on April 11 during ISU’s Donaghy Day, part of the Global Youth Service Day. It is a day of service set aside for the community to celebrate the season and to work to help beautify the campus and surrounding community. ISU students will plant between 30 and 50 trees along the corridor. All phases of the tree planting for the Brown Boulevard Corridor is to be completed by the end of April. By then about 500 trees will line both sides of the corridor and in the median.

“It will probably be the nicest one-mile stretch of a city street, in the entire city after the trees mature in a few years,” Conley said.

Indiana American Water also contributed money to pay for signs that will educate users of the trail as to the benefits trees play in capturing storm water runoff. In the first year of the trees being in the ground, Dell estimates the trees will capture 47,940 gallons of storm water, a direct savings from the cost of the water to be treated.

Dell says the city is still looking for funding for signs to educate about tree benefits and why it is important to plant the right tree, in the right place, a lesson displayed in Saturday’s tree planting. Dells said the project demonstrated you can plant trees under a utility line, if they will grow to an appropriate height at the peak of their maturity that will not interfere with the transmission lines.

One day, Dell said she hopes for the corridor to become an arboretum. She was careful to plant a large variety of trees. “You want to have a variety of trees in a community, so that if something happens, a disease, insect or an environmental issue, we don’t lose all of our trees,” Dell said. Additionally, she plans to put signs on each of the trees, which would lead trail users to a website where they could learn more about the specific kind of tree they are looking at. It will be a first of its kind project for the city of Terre Haute.

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