Longer days and warmer temperatures have the city of Valparaiso looking forward to springtime and leafy green trees. For ten years running, Valparaiso has been named a Tree City USA for its commitment to urban forestry, a commitment that grows. “This city truly appreciates its environment and trees in particular,” said Mayor Jon Costas. “Last year we added more than 300 trees to our urban forest.”
A Reminder about Street Trees
The city wishes to remind residents that trees planted in the city’s right of way – generally the area between the sidewalk and the street – are city owned and maintained. If you see an issue with a tree in the right of way, such as a hanging branch, suspicious insect activity or disease, please call Valparaiso Public Works right away at 462-4612. “Residents are instrumental in spotting problems throughout the city and trees are no exception. If you see something amiss with a street tree, call us first,” said Matt Evans, Director of Public Works.
“It’s also important to point out that street trees may not be planted, pruned or removed without permission,” Evans added. Residents may plant trees in the right of way only with approval from Public Works. Newly planted street trees must adhere to the Unified Development Ordinance, which means they must be planted at a proper distance from overhead utility lines, signs and other trees. Only approved species for parkways, selected for their appropriate size and hardiness, may be used. A list of recommended varieties is available at valpo.us/trees. Public Works reminds residents to always contact 811 to locate underground utilities prior to planting trees.
How to Add to Valparaiso’s Urban Forest
1. Join the Shade Brigade
A volunteer movement is forming that will assist the city by planting and caring for city trees, assisting in fundraising efforts, raising awareness of the city’s urban forest, and qualifying for available grant funds. To get involved, call Public Works at 462-4612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Contribute to the city’s Tree Fund
Every dollar contributed to the city’s tree fund is matched by $7 in additional funds. So, by donating just $1 a month, the Tree Fund receives $96 a year – just about the replacement cost of one tree. You may contribute directly through your water bill each month. Sign up by calling Valparaiso City Utilities at 462-6174 or visiting the office at 205 Billings St. You may find an enrollment form online by clicking on the “Partnering with the Community” link at www.valpo.us/trees.