Turning A New Leaf

LAKEWOOD – A committee that has been around for more than 20 years in Lakewood has turned a new leaf.

Recently, the Lakewood Village Board appointed new members to its Tree Committee. Richard Rose, Lakewood Tree Committee chairman, said the committee has been in existence for more than 20 years. However, with some members moving out of the area and some unfortunately passing away, new members had to be appointed to the committee. The board appointed Rose to be chairman of the committee, and named Tammy Bakewell, Jack Hemink, Valerie Dow and Scott Smith to be part of the committee. Also, the board appointed John Jablonski III, Lakewood trustee, as the liaison to the Tree Committee.

Rose said the committee formed to make sure the village flourishes with trees.

”We’re here to manage the urban forest of the village,” he said. ”To plant and analyze what trees are here, and recommend trees to be removed and recommend what to plant when planting new trees. We want Lakewood to remain a beautiful tree environment.”

Rose said there are several environmental reasons why trees are important to the village. Also, he said they acoustically soften sounds to keep the village a quiet, pleasant environment.

”They also provide cooling during the summer when it is hot. During the summer, go stand in the mall parking lot and then go stand under a tree. It is substantially cooler. Trees help cool the area,” he said. ”Besides all that, they are beautiful. Aesthetically they add something special to the village.”

Rose said he has been a member of the committee for about five years. He said during his tenure, Tree Committee members have seen to more than 40 trees being planted in the village.

”Trees get planted on village property like in village parks and village owned land,” he said. ”The village also plants trees between the pavement and property lines in the right-of-ways. The village Department of Public Works plants them or, when we buy the trees, the nursery will plant them for us.”

As far as where the next trees will be planted in Lakewood by the committee, Rose said that is being determined.

”We haven’t decided. One thing the committee is doing with its reorganization is setting priorities on where trees should be planted,” he said. ”We’re finding out where the most important locations are right now. In the process of doing that, we will also establish a prioritized list and work schedule for each year that we will try to follow.”

Rose said no funding has been made available to the committee in recent years. However, he said, with the re-establishment of the committee and a prioritized list, the committee may receive some funding from village officials in the future to plant more trees.

”We’re trying to be organized and structured in a proper way,” he said. ”We want to plant trees where they will really enhance the village. There are places where there are no trees, and we’re trying to get trees there.”

Rose said any village residents with ideas on where trees should be planted should call village hall, 763-8557, with their suggestions.