Oil City receives Tree City designation again during Arbor Day events

Oil City celebrated Arbor Day Friday by being recognized as a Tree City USA community for the 19th consecutive year.

Ty Ryen, a service forester with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, presented a flag to members of the city’s Shade Tree Commission Friday morning during a brief ceremony at Town Square for their excellence in urban forestry management.

“They have been keeping up the good work,” Ryen said.

The Tree City USA program has been in existence since 1976 and is a nationwide movement to provide the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.

Oil City was the only city in Venango County to be given the honor this year by the Arbor Day Foundation, and a flag representing the designation flies consistently outside of City Hall.

“The city makes application to be a Tree City USA community each year and it recognizes that we think trees are important and we know the benefits of having them,” said Kelly Amos, the city’s staff representative to the Shade Tree Commission.

The recognition also will give the city additional grant opportunities in the future.

Mayor Bill Moon Jr. was also in attendance at Friday’s ceremony to read a proclamation that officially acknowledged the Arbor Day celebration in Oil City.

A handful of natural resources students from Venango Technology Center took a hands-on approach and planted three new trees as part of the festivities.

The first tree was placed on the Center Street side of Town Square, the second was placed at the corner of Seneca and Center streets, and the third tree was planted near the middle of Seneca Street.

The three different types of trees planted included an emerald sunshine elm, a Persian parrotia and a lilac.

Amos said those specific tree species were selected by the Shade Tree Commission, with the assistance of Ryen.

The trees were chosen because they are best suited to handle some of the effects that come with being located by the street such as emissions from vehicles, salt and general stress from traffic.

Amos said the original plan was to plant a total of 11 trees Friday, but the remaining eight will have to be installed along Seneca Street next month to allow for the excavation of clay at some of the planting sites.

Trees were previously planted along Seneca Street, but they gradually died off and were never replaced. The holes were then bricked over and the clay foundation , which is not a proper planting environment, has remained.

Once the clay is excavated, Amos said topsoil will be put down and the rest of the trees will be planted.

Amos said having trees in the commercial district helps prevent crime, is aesthetically pleasing and can even reduce sound.

“For those reasons, the Shade Tree Commission has committed itself to getting back to tree-lined streets,” Amos said.