Partial Downtown Tree Map as of Nov. 18.png

This map from November of last year shows the possible locations of trees that might be planted across Downtown Frankfort in the next three to five years. (Submitted)

Within the next three to five years, Frankfort Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites hopes to plant nearly 400 trees in Downtown Frankfort.

Director Shawn Pickens advised the Frankfort City Commission of the plan during a work session Monday night.

“A lot of areas of Downtown Frankfort have either lost some tree canopy over the years due to ice storms or disease or different things like that,” Pickens said.

The plan has not been finalized since funding has not been allocated. Pickens suggested the project be included in future budget planning.

According to Pickens, the tentative plan was put together before Pickens became parks and recreation director in February, and he’s making it one of his priority projects.

Urban Canopy Works LLC, out of Union, was consulted to help develop the plan, he said. According to its website, Urban Canopy Works is a firm dedicated to the advancement of trees and the tree canopy in urban and developed areas.

The project is estimated to cost about $125,000. That total includes the cost of the trees and the labor it will take to plant them.

Pickens said the goal is to plant 385 trees in varying sizes and species, and the planting process would happen in phases. 

According to the planting map presented at the city commission meeting, 36 large trees, 59 medium trees and 263 small trees would be planted in Downtown Frankfort, north and south of the Kentucky River. 

Some of the species of trees that could be planted include tulip poplars, kosua dogwoods, hedge maples, eastern redbuds, witch hazels, oriental cherries, American elms, swamp white oak, fringetrees and more. 

Pickens said these species were picked because they can thrive in urban areas. 

Increasing urban canopy, according to Pickens, can raise property values and improve the overall health of the community.

Commissioner Eric Whisman suggested that planting trees along Capital Avenue might be a way to partner with the state.

Pickens reiterated that this plan is not “set in stone.”

“We're gonna have to get a ton of community input, cause we’re going to be in front of people’s houses and businesses” Pickens said. “We'll have to go block-by-block and speak with all those homeowners and business owners because some business owners don't want trees in front of their business, some do. Some homeowners don't because of the maintenance of leaves and things like that.”

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