In 1996, City Parks and Recreation Department employee Tom Kirkpatrick approached then Mayor Ken Smith about the possibility of Russellville becoming a Tree City. The Mayor agreed and during 1997 an ordinance was adopted by the City Council. A Tree Board was appointed fulfilling two of the requirements. Mr. Tom Kirkpatrick was a charter member and served many years enthusiasticly.
In 1998, Russellville received its first Tree City USA designation. This designation recognizes the City’s efforts to plant and maintain trees by enacting a tree ordinance(Ordinance 97-4 and amended Ordinance 2004-1). A goal of the City of Russellville, through its Tree Board, is to cause to be prepared and maintained an inventory of all trees located on public property within the city.
Ordinance 2004-1 relates to the maintenance and protection of the trees on public property, providing definitions, establishing a comprehensive plan and tree board with the city council, review/appeals, providing rules and regulations regarding trees and providing for a repealer clause, severability clause, penalty clause and an effective date. In all, fifteen sections of the ordinance clarify the City’s goal of maintaining and protecting our “Urban Forest”.
In partnership with the City of Russellville and Russellville Tree Board, the Electric Plant Board has adopted a tree trimming policy that is as close to the ordinance guidelines as possible. Planting or allowing trees to grow under power lines threatens our source of power and has necessitated more trimming. The intent of EPB tree trimming project is to protect tree health, provide 10 feet of clearance and direct future growth away from the power lines.
The Russellville Tree Board joins the City Parks and Recreation Department each year on Arbor Day to plant a tree and give seedlings to Stevenson Elementary School students. Since 1998, in excess of 3000 seedlings have been donated and at least 17 trees have been planted by the Tree Board in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department.
Copies of the city ordinance, request for tree trimming or removal, and general questions can be obtained from the City Clerks Office.