The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Neighborhoods Conneaut

June 29, 2014

Arbor Day ceremony salutes city’s leafy tradition

CONNEAUT — A small crowd gathered on June 21 to celebrate the city’s designation as Tree City USA for the 30th straight year.

“Basically we are talking about trees to the public,” said Rod Raker, Conneaut Tree Commission chairman, during the Arbor Day Celebration at Malek Park.

The commission has had to play close attention to detail to maintain the designation for three decades, Raker said. A community must meet a list of conditions to receive Tree City status.

The commission used to provide trees for city residents but can no longer provide the service because of a lack of volunteer workers to maintain the nursery, Raker said.

Much of the observance was devoted to tree-related news, particularly at Malek Park, home to the Dorothy Shumake Arboretum. “We use this (ceremony) to bring you up to date on what we are doing at the park,” Raker said.

Many new memorial plantings were done at the arboretum over the past year, Raker said. New trees have been planted just west of the arboretum pavilion in an area he referred to as the “New Frontier,” he said.

A $200 check from the Ardis Kremer Home was presented for use at the park and the names of 17 people and organizations who gave gifts of trees to the arboretum were read aloud. The trees ranged from a Himalayan Pine to a Mimosa.

“We are spending most of our time developing this arboretum,” Raker said. “Hopefully it will become a tourist attraction.”

Conneaut City Council President Nicholas Church read a resolution in honor of the tree commission’s long-time work.

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