The Lewisburg Foundation initiates the city’s tree replacement project

LEWISBURG (WVDN) – The Lewisburg Foundation has launched a new beautification project, the Tree Replacement Program.

Many people know that Lewisburg is a beautifully landscaped city, but perhaps they haven’t given much thought to the work that is going into the beautification and the people making it happen.

The Lewisburg Foundation is one of several volunteer organizations that ensure the city’s landmarks, trees and floral landscapes are at their best and are cared for year-round.

The Lewisburg Foundation, a nonprofit group founded in 1980 by city business leaders to work to ensure the survival of the downtown business district, has beautified the city since its inception.

They have created and maintained Gateway Park areas, downtown gardens, stalls on Washington Street and historic district signage. If you see flowers or sculptures around town, the Lewisburg Foundation probably has something to do with it.

Recently, the Lewisburg Foundation Next (LFNXT), funded by a large endowment, was established by the Lewisburg Foundation to address the next 100 years of city beautification.

The Tree Replacement Program (TRP) is one of LFNXT’s first major projects, with the TRP currently in the process of planting 15 large trees in the community. The goal is to plant 200 trees in the next 10 years.

“Trees are the lungs of our community. Trees decorate our city with beauty and contribute to our quality of life by cleaning our air and providing us with shade and shelter,” said members of the Lewisburg Foundation in a press release.

“Lewisburg was adorned with a city forest of large trees. However, many of our oldest trees have been removed from our landscape for health reasons. Add to this the recent loss of our ash trees, the attack on our hemlock and dogwood, and the removal of trees for urban development and we recognize that it is time for action. It’s time to focus on the future,” the press release said.

On Monday, November 21, Lewisburg Foundation Vice President Josh Polan along with Riverbend Nursery owner Byron Black planted several trees in Lewisburg as part of the TRP.

Polan, Black and a team from Riverbend Nursery planted red sunset maples in the small parking lot overlooking the soccer field at Hollowell Park.

Polan explained that the red sunset maples will produce great fall color and make great shade trees. That shadow, he said, will help soften the “hardscape” of the parking lot and nearby Matthews Street.

According to Polan, research shows that cities with healthy “green landscapes,” meaning lots of trees and plants, tend to have average temperatures about 10 degrees lower than cities without trees.

So, he said, not only will the maples provide nice shade for the cars parked in the parking lot, they will also lower the ambient temperature in that area.

“Trees keep our communities healthy,” Polan said, and the Tree Replacement Program will not only beautify the city, but also help fight climate change with large, shade-giving and smaller, ornamental trees.

“We’re replacing trees that have died in the last few decades,” Polan said, noting that the species they plant are disease-resistant.

Polan, Black and the Riverbend crew also planted red bud and disease-resistant dogwood at the corner of Holt Lane and Rt. 219 on November 21.

Polan said the Lewisburg Foundation is 100% volunteer-run and is looking for new members. The entire budget of the foundation comes from donations and membership fees. For more information about the Lewisburg Foundation, contact Tag and Annabelle Galyean at [email protected] or 304-647-3520.

In the meantime, the administrator of the TRP, Rod Curry, can reach out to citizens regarding a site for planting trees.

You can also contact Curry to express your interest in the tree replacement program and to suggest a location. If the location appears both favorable and feasible, he will arrange a site visit.

For more information on the TRP, please contact Curry at [email protected] or 303-359-9649. Brochures related to this project are also available at the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center.

Riverbend Nursery employees plant trees in Hollowell Park as part of the Lewisburg Foundation’s Tree Replacement Project. Photo by Sarah Mansheim
A row of red evening maples planted in Hollowell Park is part of the Lewisburg Foundation’s Tree Replacement Project. Photo by Sarah Mansheim
Riverbend nursery workers plant trees in Hollowell Park as part of the Lewisburg Foundation’s Tree Replacement Project. Photo by Sarah Mansheim