Should Janesville enact adopt-a-plot program?
Last Saturday’s Gazette detailed the great work the village of Clinton and volunteers are doing to nurture that community’s “urban forest.” The village has won awards for its forestry efforts, including being named a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation each year since 1993.
Art Bushue, who was elected to the village board in the 1990s, got the planting and pruning started. He enacted an “adopt-a-plot” program in 1998. It encourages residents to beautify various spots.
That got me to thinking. Janesville was known as “Bower City” until Dutch elm disease devastated this city’s urban forest decades ago. Now it’s known as the “City of Parks,” and when residents packed a recent Monday afternoon meeting at the courthouse to discuss the arrival of and response to the emerald ash borer, it showed how many people cherish their trees. Might Janesville likewise benefit from enacting an “adopt-a-plot” program that could help replace the hundreds if not thousands of trees in parks and on other city-owned properties that ash borers will kill?
I broached the subject with Janesville Parks Director Tom Presny in a casual chat at Saturday's 90th birthday celebration for Riverside Park. We continued the discussion Tuesday by phone.
These discussions and the opportunities and challenges of such a program will form the basis of The Gazette’s editorial Friday.