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Bloomfield Township to plant new trees with grant assistance

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 1, 2019

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Bloomfield Township is set to look a little greener soon, thanks to a tree-planting initiative approved by the Board of Trustees last week.

The board unanimously approved a resolution during its regular meeting March 25 to award a $41,830 contract to Crimboli Nursery to plant 89 trees throughout the township in various spots where trees are naturally dying of maturation, or have been killed or damaged due to vehicle collisions along roadways.

The action was recommended by the township’s Engineering and Environmental Services Department, as the project will be partially reimbursed through grant funds upon completion of the work.

Charles Markus, the program coordinator for the Engineering and Environmental Services Department, presented the plan to trustees during the meeting.

“The objective of this tree grant is to restore the tree canopy within the River Rouge watershed,” he explained. “This grant has been sponsored by the (U.S.) Forest Service, and through our membership of the Alliance of Rouge Communities, we’ve been able to participate in it.”

Among the locations where trees are needed and slated to be planted are in front of Bloomfield Hills High School, on Long Lake Road; on Long Lake Road, just west of Adams Road, where trees needed to be removed previously for sidewalk construction; in the median of Woodward Avenue, north of Hickory Grove Road and south of Berkshire Drive; on Andover Road, south of Exeter Street; on Telegraph Road, north of Andover; in the median of Telegraph Road, across from the Bloomfield Chase condominiums; on Telegraph, across from Bloomfield Town Square; and at the Orchard Lake Road and Telegraph Road triangle.

“There’s a wide open space there (at Orchard Lake and Telegraph roads) that we’re going to try and populate with trees. This will be the first installment,” said Markus. “Another space just down the street, which is a wide grassy area where we’re going to try and install a bunch of trees in, (is) the right of way off Telegraph (at Klingensmith Street).”

The same goes for Telegraph north of Andover, where a large grassy area on a steep hill will be filled with trees to reduce the manpower needed for mowing and maintenance.

The alliance awarded the grant to the township for $125 per tree for 89 native trees, which will be paid in full first from the municipal Woodland Trust Fund — a figure that was approved in the 2020 fiscal year budget. There’s just over $50,000 in the fund in total.

Crimboli, of Canton, wasn’t the lowest of the two bidders for the project; in fact, it was about $1,065 higher than the other proposal when additional weekly waterings were factored in. But in a memo to Township Supervisor Leo Savoie, Markus explained that the low bid company didn’t meet all of the township’s requirements identified in bid documents. Namely, the company hadn’t provided any of the trees requested for the work.

Marie McCormick, the executive director of the Friends of the River Rouge nonprofit, is certainly pleased with the resolution and the township’s insistence on getting the right trees into the right spots.

“Native trees and vegetation along the Rouge River help improve water quality in the community by decreasing stormwater runoff and soil erosion,” McCormick said in an email. “Their deep roots help prevent soil from washing away, absorb large volumes of water through osmosis, and phytoremediate pollutants before reaching the water. Diverse native trees and shrubs enhance biodiversity and reduce long-term maintenance needs.”

The U.S. Forest Service did not respond to a request for comment on the grant program before press time.