EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 14, 2013


To the editor:

Early last fall, Jay Griffin, Arthur Nicholson and I met over a mutual desire to see a greater focus placed on the planting of more trees across Methuen. While rarely does one hear a person say their No. 1 concern is the lack of city trees, most residents can certainly attest to hearing people speak of tree-lined roadways with nostalgia.

It is with this sentiment in mind that the three of us met with Mayor Steve Zanni to begin developing a strategy for tackling this environmental and aesthetic concern by planting new trees, while replacing those trees which have been removed over the years because of damage and death.

In recent years, we have seen cities and towns forced to make difficult decisions when building their budgets. As communities work to maintain vital services, many non-essential items have either been reduced or completely eliminated. Understanding the realities and constraints of our municipal budget, the three of us felt the best course of action was to work with city officials to qualify Methuen for funding through public and private grants. This funding will be augmented through private donations and the contribution of volunteer time and energy.

We are excited to see that our efforts are being taken seriously and that the ball is already rolling in expanding Methuen’s urban canopy. Informally organized as the Methuen Arbor Group, we’ve worked closely with DPW Director Ray DiFiore and Tree Warden Jack Collins to identify the areas where the planting of trees would make the most sense. Following this review, our group met regularly with Mayor Zanni and Groundworks Lawrence to build a grant proposal to fund the planting of trees at the identified locations.

The city and Mayor Zanni have been phenomenal partners in our efforts. Equally important partnerships are those we’ve developed with residents and businesses. The contribution of residents’ time and the financial support offered by both individuals and businesses are essential components as we strive to fulfill our mission. Having created an exclusive city account to accept contributions, assisting us with our grant application, and having added the Arbor Group’s information to the city website, Mayor Zanni has helped us get off the ground. Now, we encourage our community to keep us moving. You can do this by supporting our mission through planting more trees on your property or through contributing time and money to our efforts.

As always, we appreciate the generous support of the City of Methuen and our engaged citizenry. Thank you.

Krista McLeod


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