Earth Day 2004: New trees are part of Stanford's effort to improve downtown

April 23, 2004|EMILY BURTON

The sun held off just long enough to make Stanford's Earth Day ceremony an interesting eco-challenge Thursday: Dodge the pending floodwaters as you speak above the pounding rain, and of course, try to avoid impaling your neighbor with the umbrella.

Sheets of rain pounded the green tent as city officials gathered by the swollen St. Asaph's Creek to celebrate the dedication of 16 new trees. The native trees were purchased by residents in honor or memory of family members and soon will be marked with plaques bearing their names.

This is just one more step in the right direction, said Mayor Eddie Carter.

"We've come a long way in taking care of the environment in the last 5 years," said Carter. Over a decade ago on the very first Earth Day, "Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V-8 engines, industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press," said Carter.


The environmental outlook in Lincoln County has improved since, with ongoing efforts being made to clean up the countryside.

Through community efforts, 105,000 tires were collected this month during Tire Amnesty Day. A $19,000 grant has been awarded to the county to clean up the illegal dump at the historic Hall's Gap overlook. A hazardous household waste collection day has been scheduled for the fall, as well as a trash disposal.

"It should be Earth Day every day. We should take pride in our cities, and our state, and keep them clean," said June Bastin, Lincoln County solid waste coordinator.

The event was sponsored by the Stanford Renaissance Main Street Program and is the product of a year of planning, said program director Mary Middleton. She hopes to further the beautification project with several more additions, including more trees that are still available for purchase through her office.

"Planting the trees is phase one. The next phase will be to add flowers and benches," said Middleton. Bench designs are already in the works at the high school by the tech students, said Middleton.

With streetlights already in place, Carter said benches and a splash of seasonal color would help the area behind Main Street become a more inviting space.

"We want to utilize it, with festivals and such we have downtown," said Carter.

The well-timed deluge of rain tapered off in tandem with the memorial ceremony.

Carter seemed to take the weather in stride, telling one guest with signature optimism, "You've got to have rain to make the trees grow."

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