Modesto soon should start growing its own trees for the first time since 2008, when the city closed its nursery to save money.
The facility is expected to reopen in about two months and is part of the city’s recent efforts to focus more attention on its urban forest, which has taken a beating in recent years because of disease, drought and budget cuts to the city’s forestry division, whose workers trim and maintain city trees.
Tuesday night, the City Council is expected to allocate about $292,000 for reopening the nursery. The funding comes from reserves and an account that developers paid into for city trees. The facility will be at the city’s Jennings Road compost facility.
Solid Waste Manager Jocelyn Reed said it typically takes about a year to grow a tree before it can be replanted. Modesto has not planted trees in sizable numbers in about a decade. The number of city trees along streets and in parks has dropped from about 91,000 in 2002 to about 81,000 in 2014.
Reed said Modesto hopes to plant 15,000 trees over the next three years and is getting a jump on it this year by buying trees. She said those trees should be purchased and planted in a few months.
Modesto has stabilized funding for community forestry and hired more workers. It also is being more aggressive with mistletoe, the parasite that attacks and eventually kills trees.
As part of Tuesday’s meeting, the council also is expected to approve $352,000 in one-time money from the city’s general fund for mistletoe abatement. The money will pay for crews to remove mistletoe from city trees.
The council also is expected to:
▪ Approve an agreement with Bartle Wells Associates to have the Berkeley consulting firm conduct a sewer rate and fee study at a cost not to exceed $186,000. The study is one of the conditions Modesto agreed to last year when it settled two lawsuits brought against it by Stanislaus Food Products Co. The tomato cannery claimed the city had charged it for sewer services it did not use, in violation of the state law and the California Constitution.
▪ Approve hiring Fresno-based Hobbs Construction to build a shade structure at the Pamela Monterosso Trailhead near Dry Creek Regional Park for $31,851. The structure would consist of poles supporting a roughly 10-by-18-foot metal roof, according to a city official. The structure would have benches. It should be built by June.
The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chambers, Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.