Lititz designated a Tree City USA

By on March 20, 2019

From the bustling square in the center of downtown Lititz to the tree-lined Lititz Springs Park to its quiet tree-shaded neighborhoods, Lititz is all about trees.

Now, that affection for trees has earned Lititz Borough a new designation as a Tree City USA. Two signs at the entrance to the borough have been installed, one on East Main Street and the other on North Broad Street.

Photos by Laura Knowles.

The signs are part of the Tree City USA national recognition program that began in 1976 and is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

By meeting four fundamental standards, an incorporated municipality of any size can qualify. So far, Lititz is one of five towns in Lancaster County to be been named as a Tree City USA . The other four are the Lancaster City, Ephrata, Columbia and Denver.

“Trees are an integral part of our town, and have been for years,” says Elijah Yearick, director of planning and community development for Lititz. “The trees enrich the human scale of the borough and are part of what gives it its character.”

As Yearick points out, Lititz earned its designation in 2018 for its work in 2017. Borough officials are waiting to hear that Lititz has earned its 2019 designation for work done in 2018. Being named as a Tree City USA does not allow a town to rest on its laurels. Its an annual effort to keep its designation. To meet the standards, a town has to have a tree board or department. Lititz has a Shade Tree Commission for decades, which makes sure that trees that are replaced with suitable species, so that Lititz streets and parks will remain tree-lined.

The next standard is that the town has a Tree Care Ordinance. Back in 2017, Lititz formalized its Shade Tree Ordinance, which governs various aspects of trees in the borough. According to the Tree City USA criteria, a public tree care ordinance encourages beautification, air cooling and purification, noise abatement, property value enhancement, and all the other attributes of trees in cities of all sizes.  

An ordinance also enables town government to prevent and control destructive insects and diseases, avoid unnecessary costs and liability from hazardous trees and tree- elated accidents, and protect residents from unscrupulous or careless operators.

The next standard is that the community has a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita. The fourth standard is that the town or city has an annual Arbor Day proclamation and observance on Arbor Day, which this year is April 26. Lititz Borough will be holding its annual Spring Cleanup in April and will be planting trees during that time. As a planner, Yearick knows that trees are beneficial to the community. The Tree City USA signs show that Lititz is a community that cares about its trees.

“Trees have a ton of benefits,” said Yearick. “Aside from the stormwater, air quality, and ecological benefits that are commonly known, studies are suggesting that urban greening also has positive effects on mental health and happiness.”

Trees might also play a role in maintaining Lititz’s image as the coolest small town in America. Trees, after all, provide much needed shade on even the hottest summer day.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *