State recognizes Oil City’s roots with tree program

Venango Technology Center natural resources students Zach Murdoch (left) and Brandon Truex prepare a site for a new Persian parrotia tree along Center Street in Oil City in recognition of Arbor Day.Venango Technology Center natural resources students Zach Murdoch (left) and Brandon Truex prepare a site for a new Persian parrotia tree along Center Street in Oil City in recognition of Arbor Day.

By SAXON DAUGHERTY  Staff writer

Oil City celebrated Arbor Day Friday by reaching a milestone.

The city was recognized as a Tree City USA community for the 20th consecutive year during a brief ceremony in Town Square.

Ty Ryen, a service forester with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, presented a flag to members of the city’s Shade Tree Commission for their excellence in urban forestry management.

The Shade Tree Commission is responsible for maintaining the city’s trees between the curbs and the sidewalks, as well as some in the city’s parks.

In addition to the flag, the city will receive a special glass plaque to be displayed in City Hall, and two signs honoring the 20-year run will be placed within the city limits.

“This is a very special year for Oil City,” Ryen said. “That’s a pretty big accomplishment…They’ve done a lot to beautify the city.”

The Tree City USA program has been in existence since 1976 and is a nationwide movement to provide the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.

Additional grant opportunities will be made available to the city as a result of the designation as well.

Mayor Bill Moon Jr. was also in attendance at Friday’s ceremony to read a proclamation that officially acknowledged the Arbor Day celebration in Oil City.

A few dozen natural resources students from Venango Technology Center took a hands-on approach and planted two new trees as part of the festivities.

Both of the trees that were planted were Persian parrotias.

The first tree was placed in front of the law offices of Rosen, Varsek and Rosen on Seneca Street. The tree that was previously planted there was vandalized and broken, according to Kelly Amos, Oil City’s new director of community development.

The second tree was planted nearby on the Center Street side of the National Transit Building.