By John J. Monahan
Boston, MA (December 15, 2009)- A bill allowing the city of Worcester to borrow up to $500,000 to plant trees in neighborhoods affected by the invading Asian longhorned beetle has been signed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick and will clear the way to fund a city replanting program next year.
The special legislation was sought to help the city overcome the dramatic loss of some 25,000 trees that have been cut down to contain the beetle infestation and to help replace trees lost in an ice storm one year ago. The legislation authorizes the city to borrow the funds for up to 15 years.
State Rep. James J. O’Day, D-West Boylston, said he is hoping the approval of the bill gives people in the neighborhoods hit hardest by the tree-cutting hope that they will see an effective replanting program in the spring. “I think it’s a great thing for the city. It will hopefully make people in the Burncoat and Greendale area breath easier,” he said. The city also wants to get additional state and federal funds to supplement its own investment in replanting.
By putting up its own funds, Mr. O’Day said, it is hoped the city will have more of a say over the type and size of trees being replanted. “It may give us an opportunity to try to get some bigger trees,” he said.
He said the funds will also help replace trees downed on the west side of the city during the ice storm last December. “Everyone seems to have understood the importance of this so it did not hit any roadblocks,” in the state Legislature, he said. “I’m really happy the governor signed it. It’s terrific.”
Worcester Telegram & Gazette- Legislation allows city to borrow money for tree replanting