Behind his Canal Street home, Groveport City Councilman Scott Lockett can see an open, grassy, city-owned plot of land near Degenhart Park.

Those views got him thinking and planted the seed for an idea -- a tree farm for Groveport, which is a designated Tree City USA.

"A number of things kind of ran through my mind when I was thinking about what could go there," Lockett said. "We grow in our greenhouse our own plants -- the flowers that we plant around the city. The same thing popped into my mind for trees. Why can't we do that for trees?"

It's not a done deal yet, but council's trees and decorations committee is exploring Lockett's idea and plans to provide the full City Council with more information, according to City Administrator Marsha Hall.

Groveport is among more than 3,400 communities that have committed to becoming a Tree City USA by maintaining a tree board or department, passing a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Tree City USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation and provides direction, assistance and national recognition for communities, its website says.

Last year, Groveport planted 125 trees, paid for with a tree fund that included $30,000 for operating supplies and more than $130,000 for contingency plans, Hall said. The fund's 2019 budget is $30,000 for supplies and $130,450 for tree-replacement projects.

"We will not spend all of this money," Hall said. "As developments come into the city, developers are required to pay into the fund for future tree replacements, removals and maintenance."

The funds also are used to decorate Main Street with flags and poles and holiday decorations, as well as activities for Arbor Day, Apple Butter Day and Halloween.

The city has put out a request for proposals to contract with an arborist for an average 10 hours a month, Hall said.

"I've heard a lot of comments from people who think it's an interesting idea," Lockett said of the tree farm. "But we have to look at the practical aspects. How would we take care of it? If our costs are going to be $30,000 -- and that's not an insignificant amount -- maybe we could start a tree farm and have a mixed inventory to pick from when the need arises."

But Lockett also cautioned that he doesn't want the city to get into "the tree-sale business."

He also envisions that the tree farm could be used for educational purposes.

The city already has Arbor Day events at which children plant trees. Lockett noted that the land for the potential tree farm is not far from the city's historic log house at 551 Wirt Road, where programs and educational events are held.

"What would be good use for that property instead of just sitting there?" Lockett said. "The more I thought about it, the more it makes sense to me."

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews