Tree Commission

Meetings

  • 4pm
  • 4th Thursday of every month
  • Middletown Public Library ( currently a Zoom meeting announced on the SOS open meetings site)

Agendas & Minutes

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 website, and are open to the public. Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.

Members

The Current members of the Tree Commission are given in the boards and committees member listing document (PDF).

Road with Trees

Overview

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

Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. -Anonymous Greek proverb

History

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.

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.

Middletown Tree Association

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.

Progress

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 ongoing maintenance of public trees throughout the town through competitive bidding
  • The planting of over 1,100 trees on public property through competitive bidding
  • The subsidy of over 1,000 trees purchased in Middletown and planted by town residents on their property

Current Work

Valley Park

In addition 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.

The following plantings were completed through  competitive bidding for each phase. the Town paid for these major planting contracts.

  • As of May 2021, Boulevard Nurseries completed the third main phase by planting 65 trees.
  • For the first planting phase in 2017, 128 trees were planted by the low bidder Yardworks.
  • In the spring of 218, 193 additional trees were planted in the second phase  by Boulevard Nurseries, the low bidder to our planting RFQ.
  • The landscaping plan includes future plantings, but nothing quite as substantial as the first 3  planting phases.

Middletown a Tree City

We are proud to announce that the Tree Commission applied for and was granted the title of Tree City by the Arbor Foundation.

Special Thank Yous

For their support, the Commission extends its gratitude to the following:

  • Alice B. Mayer Trust
  • America the Beautiful Grant administered by the RI Department of Environmental Management
  • Aquidneck Land Trust
  • Middletown Town Council
  • Newport Horticultural Society
  • Van Beuren Charitable Foundation