BY CRAIG COLEY
In 1984, Bloomington was the first city in Indiana to receive the Tree City USA designation given by the Arbor Day Foundation, an honor awarded to communities meeting certain standards of urban forestry management. This year, as part of its bicentennial celebration, the City will plant 200 trees in parks, public spaces, and on school grounds. Residents also had a chance to order trees to plant on private property.
“We’ve put a lot of effort and thought into what can we do during our bicentennial year that is setting down roots and establishing something for the future,” says Paula McDevitt, director of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. “Trees will live for many years and into the next generation.”
The City will plant trees in public spaces and on Monroe County Community School Corporation properties. In addition, two bicentennial tree groves are being planned—one at the northern point of Miller-Showers Park and the other at Switchyard Park on South Walnut, which the City will begin constructing in May.
In March, when the City offered residents the opportunity to purchase tulip trees, Indiana’s state tree, through the Bicentennial Tree Sale program, the response was positive, says Julie Ramey, community relations manager for Parks and Rec. “We sold more than 100 trees in two days.”
Ramey encourages community members who want to be a part of the bicentennial tree planting program to consider buying a memorial tree. “We’ve purchased tulip trees to plant at schools,” she says. “A sponsor can choose the school where they want to support the planting of the tree, and the school gets a Bicentennial tree medallion.”
Sponsoring trees at a school costs $100. Other sponsorships include those along city streets and at Switchyard Park ($500), in a city park ($1,600), and on the courthouse Square ($2,000).
Other tree-related celebrations include a June 2 event at Bryan Park entitled “200 Years of Bloomington Trees.” Children can climb selected trees with the assistance of safety ropes rigged by arborists from noon to 5 p.m, and Parks and Rec will organize active, family-friendly games from 5 to 8 p.m. Entertainment will include performances by Malcolm Dalglish at 5:30 p.m. and Billy B, “the natural song and dance man,” at 7:15 p.m.; and a screening of the animated movie The Lorax at 9:30 p.m.
For more information on the City’s Bicentennial Memorial Tree project, visit bloomington.in.gov/treecare.
• April 29—Bicentennial Street Fair on Kirkwood
• June 2—200 Years of Bloomington Trees in Bryan Park
• June 21—Bloomington Bike-centennial Ride at Cardinal Spirits
• July 4—Bicentennial-themed July Fourth Parade in Downtown Bloomington
• October 6—Bicentennial on the B-Line: A Walk Through the Past and into the Future
• November 11—Bicentennial 5k at City Hall
April 29—Bicentennial Street Fair on Kirkwood
A Bicentennial Street Fair will be held on Sunday, April 29, on Kirkwood between Indiana Avenue and Walnut Street from noon until 4 p.m. The fair will feature food trucks, musical performances on bandstands at each end of the street, and activities organized by Indiana University, the Monroe County Public Library, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, and the Monroe County History Center. As a special part of the celebration, the City will host a birthday party in Peoples Park.