Fostoria to address ‘hazard’ trees thanks to USDA grant

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:51 PM EDT
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FOSTORIA, Ohio (WTVG) - For the first time, the City of Fostoria will have an arborist working for the city, all thanks to a $1 million dollar grant awarded to Fostoria from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

“We received word that we are going to get a million dollars from the federal government to fund what will be called the Fostoria Urban Forestry Department,” said Eric Keckler, mayor of Fostoria.

The City was awarded the grant through the Urban and Community Forestry Grants, one of 385, stemming from the Inflation Reduction Act, as the Forest Service makes an investment in urban forestry.

“It will allow us to have a certified arborist, somebody who really understands hazard trees and will be able to address the hazard trees,” said Keckler.

That’s good news for Fostoria resident Hannah Hopple who said a giant tree recently fell on her parents’ property.

“This tree we had been complaining about for years ended up falling and almost totaling one of the trucks,” said Hopple, who has lived in the city her entire life. “Over and over again, can we get this tree fixed? How do we go about getting this tree fixed? And nothing came about it.”

The mayor said not only will the grant fund the arborist, but the tools that the arborist will need to maintain trees in the city.

“We’ll have the bucket truck and the chipper and all the important things that go along with that,” said Keckler. “But I think the big thing is the knowledge that comes with a certified arborist, we’ll be able to identify hazard trees before they even become an issue for the community.”

Hopple pointed to a tree across the street where she lives along North Main Street.

“Old trees that have branches, I mean this tree over here falls every time a wind blows, like something has got to be done,” said Hopple.

The mayor said starting in 2024 the grant will fund the arborist position for five years, after that, the city will have to find new funding for the position.

“We’re working on a plan, like a celebration tree program where people can donate to help replant trees in Fostoria, and also to help keep this going into the future,” said Keckler. “So, we’re hoping that when this five years is up with this grant, we’ll be able to continue this because it’s important for the community that we are able to address these hazard trees.”

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