Ballston Spa forms park, tree advisory board



BALLSTON SPA – The Village Board of Trustees has established a Park and Tree Board to make recommendations on trees and other plantings in the village’s parks and streets.

The five-member board has representatives from five community organizations: Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association (BSBPA), Rotary, Lions Club, House and Garden Club and Saratoga County Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE).

The appointed members are Stacy Simmons (BSBPA), Ray Otten (Rotary), Ed Hersh (Lions), Judy Esposito (Garden Club) and Kristopher Williams (CCE). The board will be chaired by Village Trustee and Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Liz Kormos.

Each of these organizations has a long history of caring for and planting trees, shrubs and flowers in the village and will now come together to beautify and maintain the parks and street trees, Kormos said. She also said that trees and shrubs provide long-lasting benefits to environmental health and help reduce floods, expand wildlife habitat, increase property values, provide shade and improve the quality of life for all.

“Trees add a lot to our streetscapes,” Mayor Larry Woolbright said. “Unfortunately, some of the species planted in the past have created problems with buckling sidewalks that detract from our ‘strolling village.’ It is our hope that the new focus on trees will allow us both to beautify the village and take care of many of our sidewalk problems.”

The village has applied for designation as a Tree City USA from the Arbor Day Foundation and will be celebrating “Arbor Day in December” to kick off the activities of the new board.  The Arbor Day ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, in front of O’Brien Pharmacy where a new tree will be planted this spring.

Information on trees will be provided by Cornell Cooperative.

Additional educational opportunities on trees and shrubs and other plants will be scheduled throughout the coming year including a Tree Walk to provide information on identifying and caring for trees, tree selection, invasive species and threats to our trees such as the emerald ash borer and oak wilt fungus.

“I look forward to working with this dedicated group of volunteers and the members of the community to make Ballston Spa an even more attractive place to live, work and play,” Kormos said.