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More in News
Hope is that economy will grow like the trees
OFFERING SHADE — Three Honeylocust trees fill in some empty space at the public parking lot on Cottage Street in downtown Norway. Town Tree Warden tish carr [sic] says great care was taken to plant the right trees in the right place,to avoid the maintenance issues associated with trees planted in the 1980s.
NEW GROWTH — Two newly-planted Profusion Crab trees line the sidewalk in front of the Crane Block building in downtown Norway. Some research suggests that consumers spend significantly more time and money in retail areas with trees than without.
NORWAY — Advocates for downtown redevelopment hope the nine new trees planted along Main Street in Norway will do more than look good – they'll boost economic growth and encourage a sense of community.
The $8,000 project was funded by Norway Downtown an in-kind payment from the Town of Norway, with a $4,000 matching grant from the Maine Downtown Center and Project Canopy, pursued by Norway Downtown's Design Committee, with particular help from Brenda Melhus.
With help from the town of Norway, Key Bank and Don's Redemption, Eli Goodwin from Goodwin's Nursery in Oxford planted two Fastigate Oaks in front of Key Bank; two Profusion Crabs and one Hawthorn in front of the Crane Block building; and one Ginko and three Honeylocust along the public parking on Cottage Street.
According to tish carr [sic], Norway's volunteer tree warden and a licensed forester and arborist, the group made sure to "find the right trees for the right spots."
Carr says a tree planting effort in the 1980s was well-intentioned, but the wrong trees were selected.
The maple and ash that were planted downtown are typically forest trees, carr [sic] explains – they grow large and need lots of space.
In a downtown setting, the trees become cumbersome and have created maintenance issues, leaving some with a negative perception about trees.
Despite past mistakes, carr [sic] insists that if the right trees are selected for the right places, it will add to downtown Norway's vibrancy and provide some much needed shade.
Moreover, trees can have a positive economic impact on downtown retail areas, carr [sic] says – residents and visitors might spend more of their time and money in a green downtown.
"Shade will encourage people to park longer ... shop longer and stay longer in downtown," says carr [sic]. "That's huge."
Carr points to research by Kathleen Wolf, a social science researcher at University of Washington, that indicates consumers are more willing to stay longer, shop more and return to retail areas that have trees.
In general, Wolf found consumers preferred downtown areas with trees and shade to those without – trees can actually make a big difference to spending patterns, the amount of time people will spend downtown and the likelihood they will return.
"Trees can be significant elements in place marketing," Wolf writes in a 2009 issue of the The National Trust's Maine Street Center monthly journal.
"Trees help create place and connect to deeply felt preferences and appreciations that people have for nature. The urban forest is an important part of the vibrant, satisfying place that shoppers enjoy."
More trees can also improve quality of life and enhance community identity, says Norway Downtown President Andrea Burns. The nine new additions to Main Street are part of the organization's balanced approach to downtown redevelopment.
"Our Main Street needs to stay unique," says Burns.
"It will stay unique by paying attention to our natural environment and how that influences our economic development and sense of community."
GROWING DOWNTOWN — Two newly-planted Profusion Crab trees stand in front of the Crane Block building on Norway's Main Street. Nine new trees in all were planted in downtown Norway over the past week.