“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Anonymous Greek proverb
In order to cope with a significant loss of trees due to Hurricane Bob in 1991, a small group of volunteers came together to author a Middletown Tree Ordinance. The ordinance was approved and accepted by the Town Council in 1995. The main provision of the ordinance is that the Town Council appoint a Tree Commission to oversee tree management and to provide seed money for its operation.
The primary functions of the Tree Commission were set out to be;
- The planting and maintenance of trees on Town property.
- The review, for approval, of required landscape plans for any commercial developments proposed in the town.
Subsequent to the forming of the Tree Commission, it became apparent that annual funding, in addition to what the town could provide, would be required to carry out its mission. In addition, it became obvious that a more flexible approach to the day to day operation of the commission would greatly enhance the commission’s efficiency. Therefore, on the advice of the town solicitor, it was decided to form a nonprofit 501 C-3 corporation, and In 1998, The Middletown Tree Association was established.
The Middletown Tree Association is operated and controlled by the Tree Commission, enables the commission to apply for public and private grants, and acts as the business arm of the commission.
Since that time, the Association has applied for and received multiple grants that have enabled it to carry out its operations.
The Town council continues to appoint volunteers to the commission on a regular basis.
The results of the commission’s efforts, together with town funding, and public and private grants can be observed by a casual ride around the town. They include
- The planting of over 1,100 trees on public property through competitive biddung,
- The ongoing maintenance of public trees throughout the town through competitive bidding,
- The subsidy of over 900 trees purchased in Middletown and planted by town residents on their property.
A photo gallery (under construction) of some of the trees of Middletown is presented on this site. All photos have been taken by, and are the property of, Middletown resident Jim Nash.
For their support, the Commission extends its gratitude to The Alice B. Mayer Trust,The van Beuren Charitable Foundation, The Newport Horticultural Society, The America the Beautiful Grant administered by the RI Department of Environmental Management, the Aquidneck Land Trust, and of course, the Middletown Town Council.
In addition the the programs discussed above, in 2016 the Commission took on the landscaping design and planting management of hundreds of trees at a new park called Valley Park. The design was created by Commission members Alan Kirby and Chuck DiTucci at no cost to the Town.
Several pages on this site describe Valley Park and list the vendor bid packages for the two stages of planting to date.
For the first planting phase in 2017, 128 trees were planted by the low bidder Yardworks.
As of this writing (May 2018), Planting for the second phase of 193 additional trees is well under way by Boulevard Nurseries who was the low bidder to our planting RFQ.
The landscaping plan includes future plantings.
The Tree Commission continues its management of the Town’s trees through monthly meetings that are announced in advance on the RI Secretary of State web site, and are open to the public. Meetings are typically are held at 4:00 PM on the last Thursday of each month, in the Middletown Public Library.
The Current members of the Tree Commission are given here in the boards and committees document.
The Middletown Tree Ordinance is here as paragraph 96, Title IX of the Middletown General Regulations.
Lastly, information regarding a request for modification of trees on public property is also included on this site.