Ongoing greening of Mills Park a community effort

Vietnam veterans, the Carson City Shade Tree Council, a group fighting Lou Gehrig's disease and Carson's mayor have added trees to the Mills Park arboretum in the last two months.

Boy Scout Troop 341 planted eight trees Oct. 18.

"This is the first time we've planted trees, but we've done a lot of community service projects," said 15-year-old Star Scout Ian Murdock.

The Scouts planted three flowering pears, an ash, three hawthorns and an oak during a workday organized by the Shade Tree Council. The trees - which cost about $300 each - were paid for by an urban and community forestry grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry, in partnership with U.S. Forest Service.

Certified arborist Patricia Rowley, an urban forestry state specialist, said, "Carson City is a National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA." She ensured proper planting technique was used, watching Scouts insert a hawthorn into a hole dug by Mills Park caretaker Bob Meitzner. The Scouts then made the top of the root ball level with the surrounding ground.

Shade Tree Council members Jean Bondiett, Roy Trenoweth, Craig Hartman, Lee-Ann Keever and Carole Brewer also got their hands.

The hawthorns will grow to look like the ones on King Street near old St. Teresa's Church, Keever said.

Almost 70 trees have been planted in Mills Park over the last few years as part of a plan put together by the council, Carson City Parks and Recreation Department and city staff. The Mills Park Arboretum Conceptual Master Plan was adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2000.

"All this is really focussed on enhancing the arboretum and creating the next generation of shade trees," said Vern Krahn, park planner with parks and recreation.

In the past month, 17 trees have been planted in the park. In mid-September, six maples were planted in the ALS Grove in the middle of the park. The grove is funded by the Les Turner ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Foundation devoted to the treatment and elimination of Lou Gehrig's disease. The foundation has three groves in the park of maples, catalpas and lindens. In total, the group has put about 25 trees in the park for a total donation of about $7,500, according to Krahn.

"That's just something the taxpayers won't have to pay for," he said.

In early September, a columnar flowering cherry and two flowering crab apples were planted at the Vietnam memorial. One was donated by Mayor Ray Masayko; two were paid for by veterans organization, according to Krahn. Western Environment, a Carson City contractor, was hired to plant the ALS Grove and Vietnam memorial trees.

The plan is for the new Mills Park trees to grow up and replace old trees that are dying off or being taken down because they are unsafe. In the past six or seven years, because of hazardous tree conditions and wind, we've taken out about 70 trees," Krahn said.

The arboretum master plan calls for replacing the park's fast-growing but structurally weak cottonwoods with stronger trees. The city is eager to involve other groups in tree planting around the city, Krahn said.

"What we're really trying to do at the city is build these partnerships," he added.

He said any group or individual can donate money toward trees. Funding also comes from the residential construction tax, the quality-of-life initiative and grants.


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