Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 26, 2013

Westside medians get some attention

By Steven Penn steven.penn@flyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — On Saturday, volunteers did their part to beautify their neighborhood by planting trees with the help of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB).

The planting took place on the medians on west 10th St. from Interstate-465 to the railroad bridge west of Ben Davis High School from 9 a.m. to noon.

Jerome Delbridge, an arborist with KIB, said tree plantings like this are one the organization’s many projects.

“We have many environmental and beautification programs,” he said. “We build parks, have litter cleanups, and this is part of the program called NeighborWoods. This is our initiative to plant 100,000 trees in Marion County.”

Since starting the initiative in 2006, Delbridge said the organization has planted about 35,000 trees.

Over the summer, Joe Smoker, who is the project organizer for this specific planting, contacted KIB to bring a NeighborWoods Program to the area.

“You identify a project and then I contacted Jerome and KIB and gave them the idea and he met me out here in maybe May or June,” Smoker said. “… We discussed the project and he was able to put in the grant, the application, and get everything going and he scheduled (the planting). Aside from the massive effort you see today, it’s months of organization and a lot on their part to try to get people out and get things going.”

Other than aesthetically pleasing, he added the trees serve a multitude of benefits.

“They actually calm the traffic, so people have a sense of what they’re going by,” Smoker said. “They realize they’re speeding and probably get closer to the actual speed limit and make things a little safer for pedestrians and other motorists. The environmental benefits, it will help aid in storm water runoff and the shade actually protects the pavement in both summer and winter helping it last a bit longer.”

Delbridge said because this planting is taking place on city property, the City of Indianapolis donated to the cause.

“The City of Indianapolis actually gave money to care for a lot of these trees for three years,” he said. “So it’s a big commitment and they really stepped up for the neighborhood.”

Delbridge said this is the last planting for the season, but there will be more coming in the spring, hopefully on the Westside.

“All of our plantings come from our residents who apply for trees,” Delbridge said. “We’d love to see more Westside plantings. Trees are free to applicants, they just have to organize the neighborhood, recruit volunteers, and figure out how to water the trees.”

For people looking to help a good cause, Delbridge said this is a great way to give back.

“With this planting, we had people from all of the surrounding neighborhoods, we also recruited volunteers through Keep Indianapolis Beautiful,” he said. “Some people are from the Youth Tree Team program (for local high school students) … We couldn’t do the work if we didn’t have volunteers coming out and helping plant.”

For more information on tree plantings or how to volunteer, visit the website www.kibi.org.