NEW ALBANY — About 250 trees will be planted in New Albany by the end of the year with the first phase of the effort likely to begin in early November.
The New Albany Tree Board’s plan calls for about 130 trees to be planted along Main Street, Spring Street and State Street during the initial phase of the project. The second phase will see trees added along Market Street and Elm Street.
“Basically we’re taking any spots where trees died and take the stumps out and replace those,” said Krisjans Streips, chief planner for the city and the staff liaison on the tree board.
“Wherever we see a gap we’re going to put a new tree in there as well.”
The exact species of trees is still to be determined, but Streips told the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday there will likely be a variety. The board approved the location plan so that the tree board could proceed with ordering trees.
The project is being footed through a $90,000 appropriation of the New Albany City Council. The expenses aren’t just for purchasing and planting trees, but also for maintenance and removal of dead trees and stumps.
The plan is based off of a tree canopy study previously conducted by the city. It’s included in the 2017 city comprehensive zoning plan that was approved by the city council after public input.
In 2018, New Albany completed a tree inventory that was footed through a Community and Urban Forestry Grant.
In the initial phase, trees will be planted along Main Street between Seventh Street and Vincennes Street. On Spring Street, trees will be added between State Street and Woodrow Avenue. On State Street, trees will be added between downtown to Olive Avenue.
The city intends to plant more trees in years to come, both to replace dead or diseased trees and to fill spaces in the canopy.
“I want people to know that this is just the first phase. The plan is we’ll be adding trees all over the city,” Mayor Jeff Gahan said.
He mentioned the city has partnered with the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute to prepare a resiliency plan, and that improving New Albany’s tree canopy is a step in support of that objective.
The city also intends to create three pedestrian trails in downtown and midtown centered around trees and education. There will be markers along the trails with a code that can be scanned by a cell phone. Information about tree species in the area will be displayed on the cell phone along with details about why those trees are important for nature.
“It’s something we’re really happy to jumpstart,” Gahan said. “We have beautiful trees here in Southern Indiana. I think it’s really well-timed for us to get involved in improving the canopy.”