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Tree board, city extends rebate and removal offer in 2013
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Three members of the Great Bend Young Professionals joined the Great Bend Tree Board Thursday. From left to right: Alex De Santiago, Ashley Baldwin, and Sarah Panning. - photo by Veronica Coons

For many homeowners, now is the time to plan improvements to the landscape.  Spring is only a few months away.  Members of the Great Bend Tree Board are already looking toward 2013 for encouraging even more residents to take advantage of the city’s initiative to improve the condition and variety of tree species contained in Great Bend.   

During 2012,  the Tree Board continued to work to raise awareness of the city tree rebate program.  The program benefits residents within the city limits two ways.   

When homeowners purchase trees from an approved species list to from Great Bend nurseries, they can receive a rebate for half the cost of one to two trees, up to a $50 per tree with a maximum rebate of $100.   To take advantage of the offer, homeowners need to fill out an application and a tree board member will visit to ensure the tree is from the list and was planted correctly.  Applications can be found at local nurseries and at the city offices.

When board member Michael Fletcher checks, he asks how the homeowner heard about the program.  Most say they didn’t know about it until they saw the brochure at the checkout counter, he said.

“I see people planting trees but not asking for rebate,” he said.  “Hopefully as people learn about it, they will upgrade their purchase to a larger, more established tree.”

The second way the program helps is helping to cover some of the cost—up to $150— of removing dead or diseased trees.

“There are a lot of trees in town that look like heck because of the ice storm in 2007,” Fletcher said.  “Some pruning methods used were not good.”

Residents can pick up an application for the tree removal program at the city offices.  A photo of the tree to be removed needs to accompany the application and an approved contractor needs to be used for the removal.  Trees infected with Pine Wilt will be removed and disposed of for free by the city by May 1.  Contact the Parks Department if you have a pine tree that dies suddenly.

The city of Great Bend has been a Tree City USA since 1981.  In order to take part, the city must maintain a tree board which strives to achieve ever improving educational and physical goals to encourage wise stewardship of tree resources each year.  

The Tree Board has openings for board members who want to offer a hand in beautifying the city. At the January meeting held Thursday, Jan. 17, they welcomed three new board members, all from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals group.

“This is wonderful, having so many young people choosing to make a difference in the community together,” board president Charles Waknitz said. Meetings are held each month on the second Thursday at Great Bend Coffee at noon.  Contact the city office formore information (620) 793-4111.