AVON – As the emerald ash borer (EAB) digs deeper into Avon, the Village is preparing a counterattack. The plan is to take out infected ash trees in the area of Avon Driving Park before the bugs can and use a New York State grant to replace them with disease-resistant species.
The Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of applying for a $11,000 to $50,000 Urban and Community Forestry Grant from New York State to replace the trees once they are logged and sold to cover costs. The Board agreed to take the first step in applying for the grant: inviting a consultant to advise the Village what species and size of trees and shrubs to ask for.
“We have to make sure we specify when we apply for the grant how many trees we’re going to get, what kind of tree to make sure they’ll survive, what size trees, where they’re going to go, and we have to have a map showing where the trees are going to be planted,” said Trustee Bill Zhe, who is spearheading the project. “The grant is $11,000 to $50,000. We’re obviously going to ask for as much as we can.”
The consultant, a tree specialist from White Oak Nursery in Geneva, will cost the Village $150.
Schiano Logging out of Swain will log the area of the Avon Driving Park, from Mill Road near the Little League fields east to Linden Street and from Spring Street south to Mill Road, Little Conesus Creek and Wadsworth Avenue. The Village will sell the diseased lumber with the hope to break even. Zhe says there is the potential but no guarantee to make a modest amount of money on the project.
Schiano will replant some of the logging area with young saplings, or ‘whips.’ The Village would apply for the grant to purchase whips for the rest of the park.
If the state awards the highly competitive grant to Avon, the money could be used to replace dying ash trees elsewhere in the Village. In that case, the Village would use the grant money to purchase larger, more mature trees than whips for the streets.
“We are looking at replacement trees for the streets too,” said Zhe. “Our Superintendent of Public Works, John Barrett, would identify those trees. There aren’t a lot of ash trees on the streets but it is something that we would look into as part of the grant.”
The Village Board voted in favor of hiring the consultant and applying for the grant after some discussion.
“I’m asking because I really don’t know, can’t you just buy a maple tree and stick it in the ground?” said Trustee Mark McKeown. “I’m just trying to figure out why we would pay a consultant. Just trying to understand.”
“In this case, it’s to make sure we plant the right type of trees that are going to survive down there,” said Zhe. “Every space and area of ground is different and you have to know what trees are going to do well there.”
“It’s tough for me to wrap my head around $10,000 or $11,000 worth of trees,” said McKeown.
“Once you walk around down there and see all the ash trees, it’s amazing, you don’t realize how many ash trees there are down there,” said Zhe.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of the grant application and consultant.