Center Line welcomes new crop of trees

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 14, 2017

CENTER LINE — About two dozen people gathered in two Center Line parks June 3 to plant a few dozen trees stemming from a county partnership with a tree-planting nonprofit.

“We got 42 trees planted within about two and a half hours. It was pretty fast,” Center Line City Manager Dennis Champine said. “It was well-organized by our DPW superintendent. The trees were delivered the day before by ReLeaf Michigan.”

The plantings took place at Memorial Park, on Lawrence north of 10 Mile Road, where 13 new trees will hopefully take root, and at Rotary Park, on Lawrence south of 10 Mile, where volunteers placed 29 new trees in the ground.

Champine said previously that a grant submitted by the city to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for 50 trees was denied, but that 42 trees were later allocated to the city through a DNR grant awarded to the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Office and its Green Macomb initiative, in partnership with ReLeaf Michigan.

According to its website, ReLeaf Michigan is dedicated to planting trees and educating the public about their selection, care, maintenance and value to the community.

Selected trees along the north and south property lines at Rotary Park are expected to grow quickly and tall.

Center Line Parks and Recreation Director Heather Hames said a variety of trees were planted, including some flowering species, in an attempt to diversify the city’s tree stock and limit the impact of any future disease that could once again deplete it.

“Historically, the city has lost a number of trees over the years to certain tree diseases,” Hames said. “It’s really something the city is focusing on right now, to make sure there’s a variety of trees, so we make sure we don’t lose all the trees at once.”

Past conditions like Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer have reduced the city’s tree canopy. Champine said Center Line is currently under-forested at 14.5 percent, but he’d like to see the city meet a goal of 25 percent. He said the city will ultimately strive to achieve forestation in the 30 percent range as a long-term goal.