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City planting 14 trees for Arbor Day

The city of Dickinson is planting 14 trees this summer for Arbor Day.

Though celebrated nationally on April 27, Dickinson is recognizing the day on May 18 this year.

The effort is part of the city's effort to restore urban forestry to downtown Dickinson, Walter Hadley, city planning director, said.

"If you walk downtown you'll notice there's a whole bunch of trees that were here at one time and now there's little sections of sidewalk and there might be a hole filled with concrete," Hadley said. "We're going back in and replacing those."

One tree will be planted downtown on May 18 at noon, with the other plantings taking place through the summer, Hadley said.

The tree will be planted at Bernie's Esquire Club, 43 Sims St.

The other trees will be coming in late due to this year's extended winter weather.

"We just awarded our concrete bid for our sidewalk program. (Contractor) Winn Construction is not on the ground yet," Hadley said. "I have a whole bunch of places marked with Xs downtown on sidewalks that need to be removed before we can plant trees."

The city will be planting a linden at the Esquire, matching the rest of Sims. For other streets, a variety of trees will be planted, including crabapple and cherry.

With the trees, decorative lighting will also be installed.

The trees and lights will not be placed along a single block downtown. Last year, trees were planted along Sims from Villard Street to First Avenue.

"This year I'm going to mix it up a little bit and scatter trees from the Eagles (Club) down First Avenue, in that whole area, to make more of a presence of trees, rather than just going up a block," Hadley said.

There is great value in having trees downtown, Hadley said. Among the benefits, it softens the environment and makes it more habitable.

"In the middle of summer, when its 105 degrees outside and we have an event, it gives you some shade and breaks it up," he said.

It also enhances the downtown "streetscape."

"It breaks up your sightline and makes it so it doesn't look so stark," Hadley said. "Downtowns typically are concrete asphalt and brick buildings."

He added, "It paints a picture of an inviting environment."

The city is still taking donations for the effort.

It costs $1,000 per tree downtown, Hadley said. The tree is only $200, but the city also has to purchase a grate and replace sidewalk.

Through 2017, the project received $4,000 in donations. Hadley hopes the amount will be exceeded in 2018.

"It does help out," he said. "It also shows that the community buys into the program and thinks trees are important too. If no one cared, we probably ask ourselves why we were putting the effort into doing it."

Hadley lauded the ongoing city effort.

"We're continuing to move forward," he said. "It is slowly starting to be visible."