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For the 21st consecutive year, the city of Lancaster has earned the distinction of “Tree City USA,” said Lois Edwards, Pee Dee Urban Forester of the S.C. Forestry Commission.
“The 21 years is impressive,” she said. “That’s a real accomplishment.”
Edwards was in town last week to present Lancaster Mayor Joe Shaw and Marty Cauthen, director of sanitation and maintenance operations, with a “Tree City USA” award from the National Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes the municipality’s long-standing commitment to urban forestry.
“The Tree City USA program allows cities and towns to show they realize trees are worth a lot – environmentally, socially and economically,” Edwards said.
“They say people shop longer if they have tree-lined streets.”
Shaw said he has little doubt that “the beauty of the trees” help downtown Lancaster thrive economically. He also referenced the city proclamation that recognizes the first Friday in December as the observance of Arbor Day in Lancaster.
The proclamation reads, “trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”
“A lot of schools around here observe Arbor Day,” Shaw said. “We encourage that. We have planted a number of trees on school grounds.”
Edwards said cities and towns recognized as “Tree City USA” must meet the criteria of a board/staff that manages street sanitation, spend $2 per capita on a tree program, enact a tree care ordinance and observe Arbor Day each year.
“It’s nice to have the support of the (city) administration because they know what they’re doing,” Edwards said.
The mayor said he is proud of the city of Lancaster for having maintained the distinction as “Tree City USA” for more than two decades.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “It shows the kind of people we have here.”
Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152