Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 3
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
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Borough Shade Tree Commission Proposes Forestry Management Plan

Dilshanie Perera

Members of the Borough Shade Tree Commission proposed a community forestry management plan to Council last Tuesday. Chair Polly Burlingham reported that the commission is comprised of five volunteer members, who each have received forestry training. They were seeking approval by Council of their second five-year forestry plan.

Shade Tree Commission member Alexandra Radbil explained the plan to Borough Council, characterizing it as a kind of contract between the Borough and the State and between the commission and Borough employees. It identifies goals for the Borough to meet, including updating a tree inventory, identifying any hazardous trees, planting more trees, maintaining trees, and educating the public.

The backlog on tree maintenance could be fully assessed once the tree inventory was complete, Ms. Radbil said, pointing out that the commission “doesn’t expect the Borough to fund everything.” If the plan is approved by the Borough and the State, they may apply for a $25,000 Community Stewardship Incentive Program grant to assist with such costs.

“We know that the Borough is having some serious budgetary constraints,” acknowledged Ms. Burlingham, requesting permission for the Shade Tree Commission to meet with Council before budget cuts are made to suggest ways in which they could save money or receive funding through additional grants.

Council will make their final decision on the report at the next meeting.

The meeting also featured a short discussion about leashed dogs in Borough parks. Under the current laws, all dogs are required to be on leashes, and no dogs are permitted in parks in the Borough. Council President Andrew Koontz recommended further review in order to make policy consistent between the municipality and Health Commission. Observing that a major reason for keeping dogs out of Borough parks is concern about the safety of young children, Mr. Koontz said that in a place like Quarry Park, the Borough could prohibit dogs in Maggie’s Playground, which is fenced in, but perhaps permit them in the rest of the park. As of right now, however, dogs must be on leashes and out of parks.

The next Borough Council meeting will be a joint meeting with Township Committee regarding sustainability. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall.

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