The Town of Gray is seeking to reestablish the importance of large shade trees to the physical and cultural welfare of its historic village. In addition to the visual aesthetics we believe this will also promote economic growth in the village, prevent private and public property from damage, increase property values and quality of life. In order to do so, it proposes to accomplish five tasks outlined within the scope of Gray’s Project Canopy Grant application (in early 2009 the Town of Gray submitted an application to the Maine Forest Service’s Project Canopy Grant Program which assists municipalities in developing long-term community tree programs).
First, prepare an inventory of trees within and near the public right-of-way of streets within the village. Second, prepare a strategic plan based on this inventory and an assessment of town resources to carry out a community forest program. Third, establish a three to five-member committee to guide planning and implementation of town policy on community forestry. Fourth, it will propose to amend the Comprehensive Plan and Gray Village Master Plan to include community forestry as a goal for Village redevelopment. Fifth, draft ordinance amendments will be prepared to refine the standards of site plan review and design guidelines to more effectively respond to trees issues during project reviews.
In the summer of 2009 the Town contracted with Whitney Tree Service to complete the tree inventory. The surveyed area can be seen in the Project Canopy Village Area PDF. In all, 237 trees were inventoried. Thirty trees were categorized as Tier 1 or needing to be removed. Sixty eight were categorized as Tier 2 or needing maintenance. The remaining trees were categorized as Tier 3 trees being relatively healthy but should be monitored and maintained.
With the inventory complete the Town can now focus on implementing the additional phases of the project by creating a committee to help oversee and guide the Project Canopy goals. See the additional links below for more information and as always the community is welcome to attend any Town Council or Committee meeting to learn more about this process.