Orion Village Board agrees to trees

Mindy Carls

Orion resident Madge Markezich has offered to help the village plant more trees along 11th Avenue.

A landscape designer, she spoke to the village board on Monday, April 18, about the shrinking number of trees on the street. A couple of trees in front of her home had to be removed in April because they were planted too close to the sidewalk. The trees were planted before she moved into the house 37 years ago.

Trees add ambience, shade and cooling, Markezich told the board. They also remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

After working at Meyer Landscaping for 24 to 25 years, she is with Green Thumbers now.

She said she could check on trees, determine how many branches are dying and show how to fertilize them and how to ring with stones so mowers don’t damage the trunks.

Village President Jim Cooper said the board put additional money in the 2022-23 budget for trees. If one is cut down, it should be replaced.

The new budget has $39,000 for replacing trees and should have another $25,000 more, Cooper said.

Village Clerk Erin Lange said her sister Tara is a landscape architect in Des Moines and might be willing to help Orion determine what trees should be planted.

Trustee Neal Nelson said the village needs to remove seven more trees along Second Street. When the village renovates Fifth Street, another four or five trees will have to be removed.

In other business

• An anonymous resident has pledged a substantial amount of money to improve the village, Cooper said. One project could be improving the basketball court in Central Park.

• The board agreed to pay $51,000 to Tri-State for outfitting the village’s new truck. Work will be done as quickly as possible.

• Board members gave permission to close 12th Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets on Monday, May 30, for the annual Memorial Day observance at the Orion Community Veterans Monument in Central Park.

• Trustee Mike Dunlap announced park restrooms are open for the warm months.

• The board had decided earlier in April to pay $21 an hour to part-time deputies, but on Monday night the board lowered the rate to $20 an hour.

• Trustee Mel Drucker, a member of the finance committee, recommended putting more money into the general depreciation fund to pay for new equipment and vehicles, such as a squad car and leaf vacuuming equipment.

• The village offered to create an internship position in the office for an Orion High School co-op student but no one has expressed interest in applying, Cooper said.

• The Orion school district no longer is interested in extending the tax-increment financing district, the village president said. Neither is the Orion Fire Protection District. The current TIF district has less than three years to run.

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