A joint civic/governmental plan and project designed to preserve and maintain the Town Common and proposed by the Rotary Club of Tarboro was presented to the town council Monday night.
Ward 5 Council member John Jenkins used his public comment portion of the meeting to present copies of the plan, in the works since December 2011, to council members.
The ultimate goal of the project is to develop momentum for a privately funded initiative to raise funds to facilitate the replanting of full-size trees to replace those lost to storms, disease or maturity.
In December 2011, a certified arborist completed an inventory of trees on the Town Common. In December 2012, the Rotarians met with contacts from North Carolina State University to discuss opportunities for the project.
Nancy Stairs, Urban Forestry Program Coordinator for the North Carolina Forestry Service, in a letter to Public Works Director Troy Lewis, wrote, “First, let me say this is a really significant site and deserves to be managed to maximize the benefits the Common provides aesthetically, environmentally and historically.”
Stairs noted that many of the trees are highly stressed, not only from the history of storm damage, but also the stresses they undergo from mowers and chemicals and from the natural stress of old age. She said all of the factors compound the stress and speed up the decline of the trees.
Stairs was critical of the repeated damage inflicted by lawn mowers.
“This is really quiet unnecessary given the herbicided areas around the trees. She said the mower damage adds to the problems, since it is already known that root decay fungi are already present and the mower wounds provide easy access for the fungi.
Rotarians hope to have the project ready for a kickoff on Arbor Day — March 21 — and be ready to plant four-to-five trees. Additionally, the club, which completed a Nature Trail at Edgecombe Community College this past year, also wants to hold a tree pruning workship/demonstration on the Town Common. The club also wants to hire an arborist to review the 2011 inventory of The Town Common and draft a replacement plan with input from the North Carolina Forestry Service Urban & Community Forestry Program.
At Monday’s meeting, council members were asked to familiarize themselves with the nine-page document and be ready to discuss it at the January council meeting.