Tree replacement rebate may rise

FAIRMONT – Money doesn’t grow on trees, but it does cost money to grow a tree, or one that’s worth growing anyway.

When the city of Fairmont removes a tree as part of a construction project, property owners can get reimbursed part of the cost of a replacement tree.

When Troy Nemmers was hired as public works director in 2008, he recalls the rebate was about $35. On his recommendation, the amount was bumped up to $60 at that time. On Tuesday, he proposed raising the rebate to $100, which the city’s park board backed.

Under the requirements for the tree replacement program, the new tree must be at least 1 inch in diameter, and it has to be planted and maintained by the property owner within one year of the construction project’s completion date.

Each owner is eligible for reimbursement of just one tree per lot, per project. Considering the price of new trees, Nemmers acknowledged $100 toward one tree won’t come close to covering the cost if a property owner loses multiple trees due to a construction project.

“One is a lot more than zero,” he said.

Fairmont City Council will now consider the park board’s recommendation.

In other business, the park board discussed the Winnebago Avenue Sports Complex. The complex closed this week so crews can work on improvements to the new infields and outfields.

The board also talked about the $70,000 the council slated for improvements at the complex next year. Park board member Craig Nelson suggested the city look to the people and associations who use the facility to help pay for future improvements.