DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District has been awarded a $15,000 grant from Lisle’s Morton Arboretum to create an inventory of trees on district property using geographic information systems to better analyze maintenance needs and longterm care.
DeKalb Superintendent of Parks and Development Mat Emken announced the Urban and Community Forestry grant award Thursday during the district’s final Board of Commissioners meeting of the year. This follows weeks of uncertainty that the district would get any funds available.
The grant was accepted unanimously by the commissioners, and district staff will next send out a Request for Proposal for a contractor to conduct the tree inventory.
“We need to get this out soon so we can get it done in the spring,” Emken said.
The deadline to have the project completed is July 15 for the award to go into effect, documents show.
The GIS mapping will identify each tree’s location, species, size and overall health in specific areas the district owns, such as Hopkins Park and the Ellwood House site, along with select parks. Emken said it would also allow the district to update maintenance plans for the urban areas, identify potential structural issues, and allow staff to better plan where new trees should be planted.
“It would also allow for a detailed analysis,” Emken said. “Which would allow for better planning got increase diversification of our canopy and implement a comprehensive management plan.”
The DeKalb Park District currently does not have a certified arborist, Emken said, so the RFP will allow them to outsource the project.
The project in total comes with a $25,000 price tag, Emken said, which will be supplemented by the $15,000 grant, requiring in turn a $10,000 financial commitment from the district’s capital budget.