- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) - Ocean Springs officials are creating a Tree Beautification Program to help care for and protect the city’s many public trees.

Mayor Connie Moran said Tuesday the city will officially adopt the “Ethelyn Connor Tree Beautification Program” in honor of the late Ethelyn Connor, who was instrumental in Ocean Springs being designated as a “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Moran tells The Mississippi Press (https://bit.ly/1Mi7De9 ) the program is patterned after a similar one in use in Meridian.

“Clearly, our trees are one of the things that makes us so unique,” Moran said. “It’s imperative we care for our tree canopy.”

Moran said the city will contribute $20,000 to a fund for maintenance, pruning and fertilization of city trees and can also be used for commercial beautification, such as at the marquee at the southeast corner of the U.S. 90/Washington Avenue intersection.

In addition, funds from the program could be used to help with maintenance of some of the more prominent trees on private property in Ocean Springs.

“There are some trees in serious need of attention on private property, such as the Ruskin oak,” Moran said, referring to the huge oak tree on the west side of Ruskin Avenue which is estimated to be more than 400 years old.

The fund also will be set up in a way to allow private donations, she said, noting that the Connor family is planning to make the first private donation.

“Our goal is to kick off the program, get public input and perhaps hold a fundraiser, maybe around Arbor Day,” Moran said, adding that as funds accumulate, the city’s Tree Committee will be asked to submit a prioritized list of trees most in need of maintenance.

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Information from: The Mississippi Press, https://www.gulflive.com


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