Urbana begins memorial tree program

Urbana’s Shade Tree Commission now offers memorial trees to be planted along the city’s thoroughfares, parks and cemeteries.

The Memorial Tree Program is for individuals or organizations wishing to honor, commemorate or memorialize a loved one by planting a tree in the city.

Memorial trees come with an etched paver block with the name of the person memorialized. The cost is $350, with the guarantee of replacement of the tree for up to three years, Doug Crabill, the city’s community development manager.

“Once you get past three years, you know it will survive,” Crabill said.

The deadline to apply for a tree is Sept. 15 so the commission has time to order trees and plant them by late November. The application form can be found on the city of Urbana’s website, www.urbanaohio.com.

The Shade Tree Commission was formed in 2002 but hadn’t formalized the process to plant memorial trees.

“We had wanted to formalize the process for a while now by having an official program people could use,” Crabill said.

John Kussman wanted to memorialize his deceased wife, Peggy, by planting a couple of trees. That lead to him joining the Shade Tree Commission at the start of this year, making him the newest member.

“Peggy was employed in the nursery business for several years,” Kussman said. “Peggy became a real proponent of planting things.”

Kussman drafted the memorial tree application form for the city’s website.

The tree commission has planted 30 trees this year and plans to do 100 next year. Ohio is a leader in the Tree City U.S.A. program, Crabill said, which promotes the planting and maintaining of public trees nationwide.

“We’ve had good success this year … Every year we try to plant more trees,” he said.

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