NORWAY – Some look like Charlie Brown Christmas trees, while others are bursting with leaves and block storefronts. A couple of trees have died, and others have robust roots that are buckling the sidewalks. All in all, the town of Norway is looking to give the trees along Main Street a makeover.

Town Manager David Holt said an arborist who counsels the town advised him a few years ago to replant, but he resisted because some of the trees – the healthy ones – were so beautiful. But he said on Monday, “I think it is time to take another look.”

The town has $14,000 available for trees from a Community Development Block Grant originally meant to rehabilitate infrastructure at the old Cummings Mill. Holt said he has to find out whether that money could be used for all of the downtown trees and not just a small area around the dilapidated mill.

Most of the trees were planted about 15 to 20 years ago, Debbie Wyman, Norway’s community development director, said. A few, which were planted after the 1998 ice storm, are younger and appear less developed, according to tish carr, the private consulting arborist who told Holt a few years back that Norway’s tree ecosystem needed help.

The arborist, who spells her name without capitalization, said the trees are a mix of oak and maple with some ash trees sprinkled in, and are not appropriate for urban environments.

She said, “The species are too large for the site, and the saw cuts are too small for the size of those trees. They were going to be problem children from the beginning.”

Big trees with small sidewalk holes will never thrive, she said. “They will never amount to all that much because the roots will not grow, and they will cause sidewalks to heave and crack. They will always be struggling.”

She said a number of ornamental species are hardy enough for life along Main Street, but that any tree that is planted needs to be cared for. Trees require 15 to 20 gallons a water a week.

And there’s an economic incentive for nursing trees. “People are going to shop longer, stay longer and spend more in an area that is greened,” she said, noting there have been studies documenting this.

Gail Geraghty, who volunteers with Norway Downtown Revitalization, said: “Every little leaf makes a difference.”


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