By Al Stover 

Ritzville Tree Board begins First Avenue beautification efforts


Last updated 3/22/2018 at Noon

The City of Ritzville’s Tree Board is taking their first steps in the beautification and landscaping work for First Avenue.

City Council Member and Tree Board Representative Mike Schrag said the work on First Avenue will be broken into phases.

Schrag explained the objective is to install landscaping along First Avenue in order to make it more attractive to motorists who drive into town and motivate them to travel into downtown Ritzville.

The landscape and beautification would also have health benefits, such as the trees reducing the pollutants and creating an improved walking environment for residents.

Schrag said the Tree Board has been looking into beautification efforts First Avenue for three years.

In the past, the board has reached out to community members for ideas and features they would like to see on First Avenue. The organization has already installed trees along First Avenue during Arbor Day.

Some of the work in the first phase of the project will consist of improving the Ritzville railway welcome sign, as well as planting trees and grass near the sign.

Across the street at Napa, crews will install an elevated sign displaying “Ritzville” in LED lights with plants around the base of the poles. Schrag said the idea is drivers will be able to see the sign from 4-5 miles outside of the city.

There will also be landscape installed around the current information kiosk.

Volunteers would continue to install landscape near businesses on west First Avenue, as well as near the fenced areas belonging to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The board would like to use square planters to install plant-life, or metal sculptures along the blue fence next to Les Schwab.

Schrag explained the board is purchasing all of the plants through Boxwood Home and Garden. He added the board is using plants and trees that are easier to maintain.

The tree board is also hoping to involve the community on the project and will reach out to the local FFA chapters, the Future Business Leaders of America and other youth organizations.

Schrag added the board will also contact adult volunteer groups like the Lion’s Club, as well as collaborating with businesses located on First Avenue to help with the project.

The tree board has already received $600 from the Hennings Foundation and $2,000 from the city.

Schrag added the board has submitted applications to Caring Neighbors and Umpqua Bank for potential funding opportunities.

Schrag explained the tree board is hoping to begin the project’s first phase in April or May.

For more information about volunteer opportunities for the project, contact Schrag at City Hall at 659-1930.


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