Extra funds could help Elkhart Forestry play catch up

On Monday night the Common Council passed an appropriation of $150,000 to go on to a second reading. If approved, this money would help the Forestry Department to remove dead trees.

The city forester says the weather and bugs have caused some issues over the past few years.

“The number of trees we need to remove has doubled,” says Dan Coy, Elkhart City Forester. 

With the destructive insect known as the Emerald Ash Borer attacking ash trees throughout Elkhart over the past four years, the city now wants to step up.

In a letter to the Common Council Mayor Dick Moore requested an appropriation of $150,000 to contract outside work to help remove infected trees in the city that may come down in the next storm.

“We had 17-percent of our street trees were ash so like I said they all die about the same time and that translates to about 3,000 more dead trees that have to be removed,” says Coy.
The Forestry department has a small team of seven full time employees. 

Some trees along Frances Street were attacked by borers and others were taken down by mother nature.

“I can’t believe the city hasn’t been out here to get it off the side walk to for kids to walk through to school,” says Ted Eason an Elkhart resident.

“The storms has put us even further behind it’s the last thing we needed right now,” says Coy.

Coy says outside help is welcomed.

“It is $150,000. It translates to about 200 trees and getting this work contracted out it takes a lot more work off of our books and helps us get the streets back into a much better condition faster,” says Coy.

There will be a special Common Council Meeting on August 31st at 6 p.m. for the final approval of the $150,000. This money would come from the city’s River Boat Fund.

In the mean time Coy says the Forestry Department is attending meetings to plan out the contracted work and if the money goes through they hope to get the work done by the end of the year.

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