Pickerington's annual Arbor Day celebration also will serve as a tribute to a city that has been recognized for its ecological commitment.

For the 24th straight year Pickerington has been designated as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The Tree City designation is a recognition of a community's dedication to preservation of its tree canopy and efforts to plant new and diverse trees throughout the area.

"Trees add a great value to our community," said Lee Gray, Pickerington's mayor. "Pickerington has benefited from having (citizens) and a government that appreciates and understands that."

The award will be presented in conjunction with other scheduled activities at the city's Arbor Day Celebration at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at Simsbury Disc Golf Course, 625 E. Columbus Street, Pickerington.

Festivities also will include a presentation by Pickerington Cub Scout Pack 256, an official proclamation by Mayor Lee Gray, a musical performance by the Pickerington Community Chorus, a brief ceremony honoring the winners of Pickerington Elementary School's Third-Grade Essay Contest and a lecture about the history of Arbor Day.

Pickerington Parks and Recreation Coordinator Greg Pearce said having the city's 2017 Arbor Day Celebration at the tree-covered Simsbury Disc Golf Course is an added bonus.

"It's in a new location this year," Pearce said of the celebration.

"That will allow us to really showcase another part of the city's park system that people might not have been to yet, so that will be a good thing," he said.

This will be the second year in a row the festivities will not be held at the city's traditional venue, the Arboretum in Sycamore Park.

The Sycamore Park Covered Bridge, the only viable way to easily enter the Arboretum, remains closed to pedestrian traffic. The bridge has been closed because of an inspection failure, however, it is in the process of being repaired.

Gray said the goal is to have the coveted bridge repaired and the Arboretum opened in time for 2018 Arbor Day festivities.

"The goal is to (fix the bridge) prior to the end of this year," he said. "The engineers are putting together the plans right now."

In 2016 the Arbor Day Celebration was held at Willow Pond Park. The disc golf course has been a popular spot for recreational disc golf.

Pearce said there also will be the traditional tree planting ceremony.

For additional information about the city of Pickerington's Arbor Day celebration, contact the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department at 614-833-2211.

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