2006-08-24 / News

Volunteers needed for island's Sept. 23 fall tree inventory

By Michaela Kennedy

The town Tree Preservation and Protection Committee set Sept. 23 to take an inventory of the island's trees.

The committee also accepted an Eagle Scout project to construct informational signs and tree labels for the Town Forest on town property near Melrose Avenue School.

The committee discussed the best ways to solicit help for the tree inventory, since no volunteers showed up to help on the inventory date last spring. Committee Secretary Bob Dolan volunteered to write a press release for the event, which will call on residents willing to help count and categorize trees and identify areas where more trees could be planted. No experience will be necessary, he added.

In an open forum, Boy Scout Senior Patrol Leader Brian Volpe presented his project to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Scouting. Volpe plans to design, build, and install informational signs and tree labels in the Town Forest. The first phase of the project, design and installation of sign boards, should be completed by Oct. 1, Volpe said. The committee unanimously accepted the plan.

In the tree warden's report, Nickerson said he would like to do a fall planting before Sept. 30. He listed sites on Clarke Street and Clinton Street that were possible sites for tree plantings.

Nickerson went on to report that at the request of Town Councilor Michael Schnack, Mary Hall Keen had completed the design for a corner park at Walcott Avenue and High Street. He said that a coral bark Japanese maple and a prairie fire crabapple would be planted, fulfilling the terms of the grant.

Committee Chairman Emmett Turley asked if the change in tree variety was in alignment with the specifications of the grant. Nickerson replied that the change was made in order to satisfy the abutter to the property and was acceptable. He added that the plantings had to conform to state law, which requires that trees planted at a traffic intersection may be no higher than 15 feet.

In a discussion of upcoming grant projects, Planning Commission Liaison Michael White suggested that the tree warden share his ideas in writing with the committee before the meeting, which would make for a more constructive discussion. Nickerson balked at the idea, saying that the secretary wrote down his ideas during the meeting anyway and were included in the minutes. Turley agreed with White's suggestion. Giving the committee an outline of ideas was important, he said. "In the future, put it in writing, like a normal organization," he added

Nickerson went on to give three site ideas for a 2007 grant project for plantings: in front of the golf course on Conanicus Avenue, 50 Bayview, and Ft. Getty.

Dolan asked if the tree warden had heard back from the town administration about tree watering. At the previous meeting, the committee had discussed at length the lack of funding or volunteers to water newly planted trees on public property. Nickerson reported that Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said he would consider it. Nickerson claimed that the Jamestown Garden Club had a $1,000 budget to handle waterings at the police station and the flower pots along Narragansett Avenue. White took the issue as an action item to look into the claim.

According to Quononoquott Garden Club members who care for the Narragansett Avenue

flower barrels, the watering is done completely by volunteers. The Jamestown Garden Club only maintains the landscaping at the police station.

In a discussion of the bylaws, the committee voted unanimously to accept the by-laws as written in the final draft.

In a Ft. Getty update, Dolan provided copies of the park's landuse plan, and asked how the committee wants to be involved. The committee decided to continue the discussion to the next meeting when the Conservation Commission liaison would be present.

In a discussion of the Tree Care Policy, Turley said he liked the idea of assigning sections of the policy to committee members for review. The committee agreed to move forward with the policy as outlined.

Nickerson suggested that John Collins of Walcott Avenue had donated money for trees to be planted on the island. Since he had suggested High Street and Walcott Avenue for a beautification project, Nickerson suggested having a plaque made with a dedication to Collins.

Dolan announced that the town received the Tree City Growth Award. The qualifying elements for Jamestown were the tree tour brochure, the exemplary trees of Jamestown brochure, the planting specifications, the tree donation program, and the school forest park, he noted.

The committee also discussed proposed revisions for treeremoval permits. Nickerson showed sample signs for tree removals. "There's nothing in the policy that says a removal has to be posted before being removed," he said. He went on to ask if permits could be issued through the public works department rather than Town Hall.

In a discussion of election of officers, the committee elected Turley as chairman, Patrick Driscoll as secretary and Judith DiBello to continue as vice chairwoman. DiBello noted that there may be up to three seats open at the end of the year.

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