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Joint effort could bring shade trees to Blawnox, Etna, Sharpsburg

| Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Three communities could team up to bring more trees into the region.

Sharpsburg, Blawnox and Etna are considering a multi-municipal shade tree commission.

The commission would enable the communities to receive more trees through grants and maintain consistency along the Allegheny River.

Sharpsburg borough Secretary Jan Barbus said all three communities have had problems getting enough people to form their own board. The joint board would need one person from each community.

Barbus said one person from Sharpsburg already has signed up and two more have expressed interest.

A multi-community board could jointly apply for grants, Barbus said. Aspinwall, which has its own shade tree commission, has received trees from TreeVitalize the last two years. Representatives from TreeVitalize met with members of the communities earlier this month.

Barbus noted that Sharpsburg already is working with Etna on a multi-municipal plan.

“This is a perfect segue into a shade tree commission,” Barbus said.

Though a commission initially wouldn't incur costs, it could in the future, Barbus said. The group eventually could need funding for advertising, training and equipment, similar to the borough's other boards and commissions.

Councilman Lou DeLuca said some members of the borough public works crew went through tree-tending courses when the borough previously looked into starting a commission on its own.

The borough also already has some of the equipment that would be needed to maintain trees.

“Our costs should be relatively minimal,” DeLuca said.

Sharpsburg passed its own resolution for the multi-municipal agreement. If the multi-community commission is finalized, ordinances for trees would be the same in each community.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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