The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

April 13, 2012

Edgecombe Garden Club learns about downtown trees and Tarboro improvements

Dee Long

TARBORO — Special to The Daily Southerner

President Marilyn Douglass welcomed everyone to the March 7 luncheon meeting at the Fountains of the Albemarle.  

Alan Thornton, Tarboro town manager, spoke to the club about “Trees in Downtown Tarboro” and included ways to help improve the community.   

Prior to Thornton’s arrival, downtown merchants had expressed concern of a leaf litter problem and store fronts not seen well because of tree sizes.   

The town council and staff are concerned about the root systems of the trees, which could extend into water lines or cause the buckling of sidewalks.

Although no decision have been made, tree replacement options are being considered including ones which will help the overall appearance of downtown Tarboro.

Because there is vitality in downtown, town leaders are beginning to look at it as a destination and are seeking community input for ideas.

How would you like to see Tarboro improved to attract more visitors? As the process advances, input will be solicited through a variety of sources, including the town website and The Daily Southerner.

While the vacancy rate in most downtowns is 50 percent or greater, Tarboro is blessed to be well below that. With the move of the Health Department and Social Services downtown, there will be more traffic for merchants and eateries.

We have made it pedestrian friendly. Downtown Tarboro has so much traffic that you have to wait before crossing the street.  That is a good sign.   

Travel and tourism is an industry and an economic driver.  We have the Tar River, downtown Tarboro with a Veterans’ Museum, the Town Common, and a rural lifestyle many people travel to see.  Let’s capitalize on that and broaden our perspective.   

Like other local governments, Tarboro is just maintaining critical services because of the economy concern.  They are picking up trash, treating wastewater, providing police and fire protection, etc. In the last several days they have been doing things like replacing bulbs and putting down pine straw in preparation for spring.

The budget covers continuing maintenance of buildings and grounds, upkeep of what we have, and making improvements. There is no money is in this year’s budget for a tree program or large-scale improvement project.    

Some things get pushed aside. Tarboro has had some reduction in public services and considerable staff reductions.  This includes Buildings and Grounds crews which have been reduced to mowing grass, getting up leaves, and cutting tree limbs.   Years before, personnel did more beautification projects and had a pruning crew.   

Everyone wants Tarboro to prosper. To improve downtown Tarboro, the town would like to include civic groups and individuals who have time available to help them. Call Thornton at 641-4250 to discuss potential projects and help needed in planting and sprucing up Tarboro.

The town could provide an opportunity to use Tarboro’s under-utilized greenhouse.

Next on the program, John Suggs of “Treeful Communities” in Wilson shared extensive tree information.

 Candis Owens announced the “2012 Spring Garden Symposium”, presented by the Blount-Bridgers Garden Committee on from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 at Calvary Episcopal Church.  

In closing, President Marilyn, Nelda Johnson, and Charlotte Edmondson conducted a Memorial Ceremony for recently deceased members Margie Spencer and Kathryn Howse.