AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The Aiken Land Conservation Department awarded the city of Aiken a big check, for more than $100,000 dollars to begin assessing city’s greenery and develop a plan to conservative trees for years to come.
“Tree City USA” is a title Aiken has held for the last 32 years.
The 2014 Ice Storm killed many of the historic trees and with no replacement plan the city lost part its attraction.
Being a tree designated city gives Aiken a completely unique amenity.
Several trees at Hopelands Garden have a plaque with a phone number and a designated digit that people can call to get the history behind that tree.
“I think it just gives Aiken’s its look. People come and visit Aiken, they know it’s a special place. It’s charming and they definitely want to come back,” said Samantha Radford, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.
With the $107,000 dollar grant, from the Aiken Land Conservatory, city leaders hopes to create a long-term plan to save and replace one of the city’s biggest draws.
That’s why they hired the world’s leading scientific tree and shrub-care company to make it happen.
“We have awarded a contract to Bartlett Tree experts out of Augusta,” said Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon.
Osbon says the tree experts are going to survey 16,000 trees throughout the city.
Besides the added benefits of shade, reducing pollutants and storm water runoff, having more greenery adds to the city’s property value.
Through the assessments conducted by the tree experts, Osbon hopes to rid the city of dead trees.
“But more than that it’s not just the inventory part, it’s a plan, it’s a maintenance and it’s a future for the planning and continuing of Aiken to be a tree city for generations to come,” Osbon told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
City leaders say having an updated Tree Inventory and Management Plan will improve their efforts to provide citizens a more healthy lifestyle and maintained urban forest.