Donations are being sought for Brandon Park tree replacements

As a result of the storm that went through Lycoming County at the beginning of the month, the Brandon Park Commission is seeking donations to replace damaged trees.

With 15 trees in need of replacement, the commission hopes to have the trees replaced by next Arbor Day.

“We’d like to replace all 15 for sure,” said Thad Meckley, chairman. “People are asking how they can help, and this is how they can help. They can send in a donation to the Brandon Park Commission, earmarked for us, for the replanting or repurchasing of trees within Brandon Park to help with the storm damage.”

The need for tree replacement in the park was unexpected.

“We’ll be the good stewards that we are and get them replaced with whatever funds we have. Otherwise, we’ll have to seek grant money or find other budgetary money that hasn’t been spent on other things to put toward this. We didn’t expect this,” Meckley said.

Meckley said one of the issues was that the main damaged area had some of the park’s oldest trees. The commission hopes to replace the trees with bigger trees than usual to make up for the loss.

The minimum cost for the city to replace a tree is $200, he said, noting that only covers a tree whose diameter is about an inch and three quarters.

“We did have a … straight line of path of devastation of some of our oldest and tallest trees,” Meckley said. “We’re looking to replant those in the best possible way, and we’re looking into documenting what type of trees those are for the future.”

Meckley said anyone wishing to contribute may contact Debbie Barto of the Streets and Parks Department at 570-326-4684.

In a related matter, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana noted that nobody is permitted to cut trees or limbs with a chain saw in any city park under any circumstances.

“That is prohibited,” Campana said. “We will enforce the law. There’s litigation if someone is hurt. The city could be sued. We could have some individuals where they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a public safety issue.”

The commission also acknowledged that if a tree falls, the city may help in tree removal. If a tree falls into the street, the city is responsible, but if it falls on the property, the property owner is responsible, Meckley said. Property owners are responsible for stumps, he said.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved the cost of $1,550 for eight accent light heads from WAC Landscape Lighting.

“They will go in the front of the park where we have the already approved upgrade of the electrical system that was there existing,” Meckley said.

He said it was dated, and they wanted to make sure it went to future use in a safe way. The accent light heads are part of the upgrades previously approved by the commission. The commission has received a $19,000 donation toward beautification of the park that covers the cost of landscaping and the lighting heads, according to Meckley.

“All the work for the upgrades will be in house and in kind donations,” he said.

Meckley said these lights are just another part of that existing project.

“They’re multifunctioning lights,” he said. “We’re looking for donations to help offset that accent lighting in the front … We’re always looking for kind-hearted people to help enhance what we have here.”

The lights can move, and they can change the colors of the lenses for holiday arrangements.

Voting at the meeting were commission members Meckley, David Myers, William McConnel and Cindy Cobb. Deb Allison was absent.