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Arbor Day in Carnegie brings community closer to exclusive title

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mayor Jack Kobistek's proclamation declaring April 20 as Arbor Day in Carnegie completed the last step for the borough to become a Tree City, USA, and Arbor Day in Carnegie will bring that honor one step closer to reality.

Communities must complete four steps in order to be named a Tree City, USA by the Arbor Day Foundation: establish a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, A forestry program with a budget of at least $2 per capita, and declare a community arbor day.

The Carnegie Shade Tree Commission will plant 40 trees in the borough on Saturday — 20 along Main Street and Mansfield Avenue and 15 in Carnegie Park.

“The ultimate object is to get as many of the streets as tree-lined as possible to create a tree-filled environment,” said commission member Bridget VanDorn.

The main focus right now, she said, is Carnegie's downtown business district.

“The more trees and greenery a business district has, the more likely people are to spend more money and time in that area,” she said. “That's always a top priority of the town, and this is certainly a way to do that.”

The commission has received hearty community support.

“It's been hard-earned, but it's well deserved,” VanDorn said.

The mayor has thrown his support behind the commission's efforts as well.

Kobistek's Carnegie Arbor Day proclamation at the April 8 council meeting made the neighborhood eligible to be named a “Tree City, USA,” joining the likes of Sewickley and Forest Hills.

“We hope it brings us more publicity and grant opportunities,” VanDorn said. “It really is a big deal for us.”

Being named a Tree City, USA allows the program to provide communities with direction, assistance and national recognition in its efforts to build an urban forest.

Saturday's event isn't the first planting to take place in Carnegie, and the commission has received five tree grants for projects since its inception less than two years ago.

“They've been very active in soliciting funding and assistance from outside resources,” Kobistek said. “There's no way we could tap into all of the resources they have tapped into without having a Shade Tree Commission.”

The Shade Tree Commission is looking for volunteers to help with Saturday's planting.

Volunteers should be at least 16, and training begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the 3rd Street Gallery. A light breakfast will be provided and lunch will be served after the planting.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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