Beaufort Tree Board weighs options for final tricentennial celebration

gmartin@islandpacket.comNovember 17, 2011 

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With about six weeks remaining in Beaufort's 300th year, the city's Tree Board devoted much of its meeting Thursday to discussing ways it could contribute to one final celebration.

Although the board's final decision -- planting some trees by City Hall -- might seem predictable, the trees themselves figure to be anything but.

One option is the golden rain tree, which grows to about 150 feet and blossoms yellow flowers and purple seed pods in autumn. Board members also discussed the Chinese pistache, a smaller tree that turns a brilliant orange and yellow each fall.

Both trees are native to Asia but can be found throughout the Southeast.

Board chairwoman Barb Farrior said she'd like to pursue planting three trees -- one for each century of Beaufort's existence -- but that the ultimate decision would be contingent upon the cost.

The four board members also discussed the granite plaque that would accompany their gift and whether local elementary school students would participate in the festivities.

In other action, the Tree Board:

  • Discussed a recent proposal to partner with Beaufort's Board of Parks and Leisure Services. Farrior concluded that her committee is "open to the idea, but needs to learn more about the responsibilities involved."

  • Discussed recent public complaints about trees on private land that threaten Beaufort's streets and how best to inform homeowners to attend to such "hazard trees."

  • Tabled until next meeting a discussion of applying for grants to help finance a project that would place electric and communications wires underground in some neighborhoods. SCE&G has trimmed some trees near such wires for safety purposes, a practice that has drawn the ire of some homeowners who felt the pruning was excessive.

  • Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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