City's trees featured in historic walk brochure

NORCROSS - Ever wonder about those trees that make a stroll through Norcross so pleasant? Now, you can find out about them with a self-guided historic tree walk created by the city.

The idea and brochure for the walk came as part of an Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program grant project to survey all the trees in the public right of way, Community Development Director Jennifer Peterson said.

The survey, which included size, history and any care needs of the 1,123 trees along roads and sidewalks (it does not include the ones in parks and on city property), was created to help public works crews who have to respond to calls about trees or roots in the water line, but it also allows the city to plan for its natural infrastructure as well as the manmade one.

While the study found the city has a great tree canopy providing shade, a mix of species and many mature trees, Peterson said the city can now plan enhancements such as plantings every few years.

"We're maintaining our natural resources," she said, adding that the trees draping over sidewalks make Norcross special. "It's a quintessential Southern vision of a downtown."

The brochure features on its cover a 79-foot-tall elm with a 105-foot spread that stands in front of City Hall in Betty Mauldin Park. The century-old tree has provided shade for hundreds of town gatherings, and it has been the site of marriage proposals and for children to play, city leaders said.

Individuals can pick up the brochures at City Hall to begin a stroll through the city to Thrasher Park. Peterson said she is also encouraging field trips from the nearby elementary school and preparing an online version of the tour.

"I think Norcross is going to embrace it more than other communities. It's a very walkable area," she said. "We've got beautiful huge magnolia trees. We've got some huge oaks. We're really blessed."