Delaware’s sister city relationship with Sakata could literally bloom in the future.
“I’ve decided once our (downtown street) trees need replaced I want cherry blossoms,” said Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle during her first council meeting after an April trip to the Japanese city.
The downtown area has nearly 100 street trees with a majority of them being crabapple. The Shade Tree Commission had earlier decided to replace with an Imperial honey-locust species.
But there was some discussion at its Tuesday meeting to diversify downtown’s street trees after commission member Tom Wolber inquired about what type of tree would replace a vacant spot in front in front of City Hall.
The city removed the street tree at that location because it was damaged by a car, City Arborist Doug Richmond said.
But he started to look at cherry tree species for the downtown area and will present a proposal later in the year.
“I think there are some that are viable species; some that are better than crabapple,” Richmond said.
If the commission decides to go with cherry trees, he thought the City Hall location would be a good test. The tree would blend well with the current street trees, he said.
Wolber and commission member Shannon Brewster support the proposal.
“I think that would be an ideal spot,” Wolber said.
Additionally, Richmond said the commission should consider diversification of downtown’s street trees.
Brewster agreed. But she said the aesthetic design should be considered.
Commission Vice Chairwoman Susan Wright said Main Street Delaware proposed nearly a decade ago to replace all the street trees. But it was during the recession and the city didn’t have any funds to unnecessarily replace healthy trees, she said.
But the city’s tree bank fund now stands at $242,880.72.
“This might be an opportunity to start moving in a different direction,” Wright said.
Wolber said Main Street Delaware would be welcome to provide feedback.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.