Francis: Tree City USA? |

Francis: Tree City USA?

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Officials in Francis plan to spruce up the town’s park in hopes of the area being recognized as a Tree City USA.

Local leaders needed to form a tree board before the Arbor Day Foundation would consider applying the designation to Francis. The Francis Town Shade Tree Committee held its first meeting Feb. 17.

"This is the first step," said Francis Town Councilwoman Kristi Major, a member of the Shade Tree Committee. "But it’s a huge step in creating this vision here."

Major said an ordinance related to tree care should also be enacted in Francis before the town is recognized as a Tree City USA. The town also needs an annual budget for its forestry program and a public observance of Arbor Day.

Members of the committee will maintain existing trees and oversee the planting of new trees in Francis.

"Before I got on the council I’d been working with trees out here," Major said in an interview in Francis. "This is just a vision that we’re real excited about having in the town of Francis."

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Being recognized as a Tree City USA may help draw new businesses to Francis, she explained.

"There is more pride in a town that is an established Tree City," Major said. "This is what creates community."

The state Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands has recommended the Arbor Day Foundation approve the application from Francis and apply Tree City USA status to the town.

Members of the Francis Town Shade Tree Committee are working to inventory trees in the area.

Major said people may plant trees in Francis on behalf of their loved ones.

"We’ll offer plaques for dedicated trees," she added.

Board members will also identify historical and dangerous trees. A large willow tree in the town has been identified as a "hazardous tree," Major said.

Park City and Oakley are among the other cities in Summit County that have been recognized with Tree City USA status.

Local arborist Jason Barto said he expects the designation to soon apply to Francis.

Meanwhile, a master plan for Francis Town Park includes new trees and shade pavilions.

"We just approved the master plan for the park, which are perfect guidelines for tree planting," Major said. "Families can come and enjoy picnics here under a pavilion or a shade tree."

Existing structures in the park like the riding arena, horse pull track and grazing area will be preserved, Major said.