The city is adding a rural touch to much of its asphalt jungle.
Haverhill has planted more than a dozen young elm trees in the median strips on Bailey and Ginty boulevards this summer, continuing a trend that began during Mayor James Fiorentini’s first term.
In the last several years, the city has added 400 or more trees to the landscape. This year’s goal is to plant 100 more, the mayor said. But, the unexpected high cost of hiring an outside contractor to plant and care for the new trees is slowing down the effort.
The city planted 35 Dutch elm disease-resistant trees this summer along the two inner-city boulevards and in an island near White’s Corner and along the Main Street side of City Hall.
“The goal is to have beautiful tree-lined streets, but it’s a much slower process than I thought it would be,” Fiorentini said.
“Realistically we’ll probably get to 50 additional trees in the fall,” he said, adding they will include various species. “We are still working on our tree plans, but since we don’t have the manpower, we have to hire private companies to do it and that’s expensive.”
Public Works Director Michael Stankovich said the plan is to plant new trees this fall in various neighborhoods, which are still being chosen.
“Our first priority is to replace trees that have been removed due to disease, old age or damage,” Stankovich said. “The next priority is to plant new trees in areas where residents have requested them.”
The city has planted an average of 100 trees in each of the last five years, Stankovich said.
The mayor’s dream has been to return to a time when many of the city’s streets were lined with trees. That was decades before diseases and hurricanes took a toll.