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Posted on Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti to plant 500 trees on Water Street property

By Katrease Stafford

The city of Ypsilanti will plant 500 trees this year on the Water Street property to increase and diversify its public tree stock and improve the overall tree canopy.


The city cleared the former Gilbert Park on the Water Street property to install a tree nursery.

Tom Perkins | file photo

The trees will be planted in the city's tree nursery on the southeast corner of the Water Street property in the former Old Gilbert Park baseball diamond.

The city is working to revitalize its "urban forest" and in 2011, the city completed an inventory of its existing public trees.

The inventory check revealed the city's trees are more on the mature side and in need of increased diversity. Ypsilanti has about 8,835 trees, stumps, and planting sites not including private backyard trees.

The city was able to use grant funds to plan and develop the tree nursery to help grow 500 to 600 trees over three to five years to be planted as street trees throughout the city.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti said the city received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant that was one of President Obama's efforts to make sure attention was paid to the Great Lakes region.


Ypsilanti resident Stefanie Stauffer, right, and Ann Arbor resident Adrienne Ziegler cut off excess foliage for the Ypsilanti Water Street Trail.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

Gillotti said a specific call was made to urban forestry projects and the city received a $144,000 grant to cover the project. The saplings are expected to cost anywhere from $3 to $22.

Ypsilanti has partnered with ReLeaf Michigan, a nonprofit tree organization, to help recruit and train volunteers to help plant and tend the nursery.

Volunteers have planted about 350 trees since the tree nursery was created in spring 2012, ReLeaf project forester Christine Forton.

"We have a lot of connections to volunteer groups to oversee the survival rate of these trees," Forton said. "We have a diverse range of trees. We've ordered some native and not native trees. They range from oaks to tulip trees."

The city, along with ReLeaf, is now looking for 125 volunteers to help plant the bare-root saplings on April 19 and April 20. Forton said the project will replace some of the trees that were lost in 2012.

"This is the second phase of this tree nursery," Forton said. "The survival rates of the ones that were planted were very low due to the drought and we had a very hot season last year."

Forton said a pump being powered by a small solar panel will pump water from the Huron River to irrigate the trees. A contractor has been hired to come in after all the trees are planted to make sure each sapling has an irrigation line in place.

After the trees are planted and have grown for three to five years, the city will transplant them to parks and places for street trees around the city.

Gillotti said the purpose of the tree nursery is to further the appeal and walkability of the city. Gillotti said studies have shown that communities with an ample amount of healthy trees and a tree canopy often benefit from higher property values and commercial activity.

"This has always been a part of Ypsilanti's identity," Gillotti said. "We felt a nursery was a great way to engage residents in the process."

Those interested in volunteering can email Forton at for more information.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Speedy Squirrel

Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Excellent. As a 596th generation Ypsi squirrel, I can tell you one of the great features of this city is the trees. I can pretty much go from one side of this city to the other without touching the ground! Now about that cat ordinance...


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Now the bad news .US is shipping over $ 12 billion dollars to foreign countries .OUR TREES>. New trade bill in washington!


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

Contact ARBOR DAY Foundation for a good deal on trees. Please support H.B 154 leaf it to us Children Crusade for TREES .. One tree in a 50 year life time will clean up $62 000 dollars worth of air pollution give off $ 31,250 of oxygen Recycle $ 37,000 worth of water Prevent $ 31 000 worth os soil erosion trees can absorb carbon dioxide at the rate of 48 pounds per year-about 10 tons per acre per year. trees help save energy .three trees around your house can cut your air conditiong bill 10-50% What H.B 154 can do: make a fund for $ 10 000 (K-12) to plant trees across the state on public land Money would be kept in the state forestry funds kids would apply for grants and match money/We will double your money . please support H B 154 Information :American Forestry Association& University of michigan .Forestry Update.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

DONOT forget to tell the local Landlord to replant new trees when the old one being cut ,or removed .We have lost to many trees in the city alone over 30 trees.

Fresh Start

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Ypsilanti should consider building a new baseball or football stadium on the Water Street Property with a minor league club or maybe EMU. I also think EMU could benefit from more visibility. EMU should put a big proud stamp on Ypsilanti on west side of the Huron River and immediately north of I-94 next to the Angstrom Plant. It's the gateway to Washtenaw County and 100,000+ cars a day drive by. Talk about advertising!


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

100 000 cars drive by POLLUTION .. so ground is to soft ...have to wait ...plant trees!

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

maybe a semi-pro baseball team and call them the Ypsilanti Braves?!?


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

The city should offer tax incentives to get somebody to develop that property. Give them five years of ZERO property taxes or TEN years of zero property taxes. Since they haven't gotten any property tax revenue from that land in several years, it seems like a win win situation to offer the big tax break.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Install SOLAR panel and sell the Electriciti back to DTE/

Amy Biolchini

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

Cool application of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds -- the only uses of that grant program that I knew about were on shoreline rehabilitation projects.

ypsi 1

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

That's correct TommyJ (ignoring your sarcasm) The city can not afford to pick up loose leaves so stop whining and bag em. Hopefully the solid waste millage, already in the red, doesn't require further cuts in waste collection. There will be no available grants to help with leaf pick-up.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

I'll just push them in the street like everyone else does and let them clog the sewers and blow into my neighbor's yards. I wonder if the city will come up with funds to clean up the leaves at their own nursery?


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

So the city can find money to plant tree farms and more trees, but can't do leaf pickup for the trees that are already growing in the city? Makes sense.


Mon, Feb 4, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Yes, Tommy J...It's is time to become resourceful and start helping the city..rather than excusing what you can do...I'm sure the community garden will take your leaves with their arms wide open. ;) Makes a lot of sense.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Bag your own leaves and give them to neighbors who garden to use for compost, and quit whining. The city found grant money for the project, in case you missed that in the article. When you locate grant money that can be used for leaf pickup, be sure to let the city know. I'm sure they'll appreciate the assistance.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

Maybe we can hide the parasitic Family Dollar that the City also wants to put it with these trees!


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

I agree with moonunit. We really do not need another dollar store in the area. I can think of a lot more nicer things there then this. Sad day for Ypsilanti.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

moonunit...Like ohmygod,like,if you don't like totally like it , like, totally don't go thereee


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

Just like Barzoom said trees are always good.I'm no tree huger but I'll admit that I have two maples in my yard that I hate.But they look so nice in the summer I can't bring myself to cut them down


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 6:47 p.m.

'fess up tdw, you're a tree hugger, the fact that you can't cut those 2 maples down attests to this! as always, a tree hugger also, Madeleine, a.k.a. mady

Dog Guy

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

In the youthful days of long ago We sung to see the Huron flow By the clear and rippling river Through Ypsilanti flowing ever. Sweeping along banks bright and green, In sylvan shade and sunny gleam Where lovers row the bonnie boats That o'er the placid water floats, Or hoisting up the tiny sail They glide on with scented gale . . . William Lambie Mr. Peabody set the WayBack Machine to 100 years ago when Water Street was Dutch Town. A glitch apparently has landed them in a trading ground on the Old Sauk Trail several centuries earlier. This is the forest primeval, Sherman.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Anyone who quotes fabulous characters from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show gets a thumbs up from me! :)


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Excellent!!! I moved to Ypsilanti just under 2 months ago. I love this town already. sign me, Glad to Live Here, Madeleine Baier, a.k.a. Mady


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Welcome, Mady! I've lived here for just two years, and I love it too.


Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

Trees are always good.

Glen S.

Sat, Feb 2, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

This is another great example of how Ypsilanti is working to build a more sustainable future. Thanks to creativity and vision of Ms. Gillotti and others at City Hall, this grant will allow us to use land that is temporarily idle to grow saplings that will one day become provide character (and shade) in neighborhoods and parks across Ypsilanti -- at virtually no cost to the city's taxpayers.


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Detroit is closing a lot of parks due to budget cuts. The citizens of Detroit who live near these parks are taking them over and keeping them neat and clean. Some will fall into disrepair due to those parks that can't be maintained. Sad day for Detroit.