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Harrisburg's Mayor Thompson Appoints Josh First to Chair City Tree Restoration Task Force


After months of quiet work behind the scenes, the City of Harrisburg and a group of citizen volunteers have unveiled an ambitious program to restore and maintain Harrisburg's award-winning urban trees.

Appalachian's president and city resident, Josh First, has been named chairman of the Harrisburg Tree Restoration Task Force.

Cathy Alarie, right, and Jahyson Braxton, far right, look at Braxton's home in the 3200 block of North Third Street in Harrisburg after a tree was toppled onto the house by high winds from the Hurricane Irene storm system. PAUL CHAPLIN, The Patriot-News

"My own family's roots run deep in Harrisburg, back to pre-Colonial times, when some of the city's biggest trees were planted, and I am proud to serve my fellow citizens by helping keep our community continue looking and feeling beautiful," said First.

"I'd like to thank the members of the Task Force who have been working hard for months, particularly Jarrett Handy of Skelly and Loy, and Lewis Butts," said First.

"Mayor Linda Thompson deserves a ton of credit for appointing the task force, because it is a big effort whose fruits require vision to anticipate. Trees take years to grow to appreciable size. The results will not necessarily be immediately substantial, yet without our work, the city will lose a significant aspect of its historic feel and value," said First.

Much of the city's historic tree base was lost in unusually intense wind storms in May and again in September 2011. Hundreds of large trees fell or were split during those storms. Harrisburg does not have a tree program, and its tree code leaves most decisions about trees up to private landowners.

Other cities around America have successful urban forestry programs, and as an All-America City, Harrisburg deserves to achieve that higher level of function.

The city's official press release is at http://harrisburgpa.gov/2011/10/07/mayor-thompson-names-city-tree-restoration-task-force/. A press event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 11th at 11:00 am in the City Atrium.

Patriot News article of Tree Restoration Task Force city-wide restoration effort.


   

 
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