Group gives care to street trees
by Michael Perlman
May 24, 2016 | 5026 views | 0 0 comments | 135 135 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers restoring tree pits.
Volunteers restoring tree pits.
slideshow
Volunteers mulching & pruning on Continental Ave.
Volunteers mulching & pruning on Continental Ave.
slideshow
Over a week ago, Friends of MacDonald Park planted nearly 200 shrubs and plants in the park with the help of 70 local volunteers.

The volunteer organization assembled once again this past Saturday to care for the neighborhood's street trees, which improve water quality, filter pollution, and cool air temperatures.

For the past 12 years, group founder Steve Melnick has enhanced tree pits primarily along Continental Avenue and Austin Street. The latest initiative consisted of 12 volunteers and staff from ACE Programs for the Homeless.

They pruned low-lying tree branches, weeded and tilled the soil, and applied mulch to 27 trees. They also filed a request with 311 for the removal and replacement of one dead tree on the northeast corner of Austin Street at Continental Avenue.

“The city will not take care of the tree pits, so the volunteers have been maintaining them over the years,” said Melnick. “We need the commitment of the owners to take care of their storefronts and sidewalks. Property owners and shops have yet to jump in and help improve their neighborhood.

“We do not plant flowers any longer since the owners refuse to water them,” he added.

Besides attracting volunteers, the key to the event’s success is funding. The organization purchased mulch through a Partnerships For Parks grant, tools were loaned by the Parks Department, and ACE provided cleaning supplies, but more help is needed.

“We are hoping for the assistance of banks, property owners, and chain stores,” Melnick said. “If not, this may be the last time we organize this project.”

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