City to take second stab at ash-borer grant
Pickerington officials hope a renewed effort to combat the emerald ash borer in the city's parks will yield $10,000 in state assistance.
According to Pickerington Service Director Ed Drobina, the emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle that embeds itself in ash wood and kills trees by robbing them of vital nutrients, has invaded Victory, Simsbury and Sycamore parks, as well as the Melrose and Sycamore subdivision and expanses along state Route 256.
It's not a new development. Last year, the city unsuccessfully sought a $22,300 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to fund eradication efforts to remove and replace 106 ash trees located on public grounds.
This year, Drobina again intends to seek state funds to fight EAB, which the ODNR believes made its way to the Buckeye State from Michigan in 2003 after being identified there as well as in Windsor, Ontario, in June 2002.
"This year, I am going to concentrate my efforts in park grounds only," Drobina said.
"By working on parks ground only, I will not be impacting the look of a subdivision street.
"Eventually we will probably need to remove the ash trees along subdivision streets, but we will most likely do this as a tree or trees die."
Drobina estimated there are more than 1,000 ash trees citywide.
In focusing initial eradication on park trees, he said, the city would seek to avoid disruptions in residential subdivisions, while also maximizing any public assistance Pickerington might garner.
"We will not have (enough) grant monies to remove all ash trees within the city," he said.
"I am choosing park lands because it will not be disruptive to subdivisions."
Drobina and Pickerington city manager Bill Vance will need authorization from Pickerington City Council before seeking this year's grant.
If that occurs, Drobina said he'd seek a $10,000 grant, which stipulates the city must invest at least $10,000 toward the eradication effort.
"This year I will be requesting a $20,000 grant this is a 50 percent reimbursable grant," he said.
"(That) means the city will need to spend the $20,000 first and then get reimbursed up to $10,000.
"This is a canopy restoration grant so the trees will have to be removed and other (non-ash) trees planted."
As for residents whose ash trees have been infested, Drobina said there are treatments on the market to combat the EAB's spread, or the residents can remove the trees.