Port City Considers Becoming Tree City

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Tuesday night, the Physical Services Committee sowed the seeds to change the Port City into a Tree City.

Mayor Randy Bateman requested discussion regarding the Tree City USA program and the “Trees for Vets” plan that has been proposed for the Port City.

“It is an ambitious project. But it’s also very worthwhile project, not only to the veterans but the entire city,” said Mike Smith, DPW commissioner.

He had met with Bill McCarthy and Thomas Galloway recently about the veterans wishing to plant a black walnut tree in Veterans’ Memorial Park on Sept. 18 (POW-MIA Day). The tree was donated by Ontario Orchards.

They also asked him whether the city would be willing to participate in the Trees for Vets program.

“We’ve noticed in the past few years, downtown and Bridge Street in general is getting a little tacky,” Galloway told the committee. “When I was a kid, a long time ago, there was trees from the east line of the city to the college. And, the ones near the college had a small plaque under them and they were beautiful maple trees and were addressed to a veteran or some family.”

The veterans are really behind the new project, he said.

They aren’t asking the city or the taxpayers to pay for it, he added.

“We’re asking the people that donate a tree to their family to take part in this; they don’t have to be a veteran, they can be anybody but primarily it is for veterans,” he explained. “We are working with Dennis Ouellette (of Ontario Orchards), who is a tree expert. He has agreed to survey Bridge Street from the city line to the city line and come up with a comprehensive plan of the trees that will look good and grow.”

The survey is pretty well finished, according to Galloway.

The group has no ulterior motives, they won’t be touching any money themselves, he said.

“We just want to see Bridge Street look like West First Street, and not just downtown, from city line to city line,” he said.

“What we want to do is set up a program to direct the person who wants to plant a tree to Mr. Ouellette,” McCarthy said. “We want to do a little bit on both sides of the river.”

Ten or 15 years down the road, the city could look like it did 50 years ago with tree-lined streets, he noted.

Councilor Connie Cosemento (D-First Ward), committee chair, said she remembers when the city looked that way.

Then, when the state widened Route 104 (Bridge Street, it took down all those trees.

If you take a look at many of the homes on the west end of the city, the homes are fine, “They’re just lacking lush green trees,” she said. “And certainly, this program will do a lot to correct that.”

The committee sent the request to the full council for consideration.


  1. In the 50’s I can remember walking from the college to West 6th & Erie in the rain, mostly along Bridge St., and not getting wet due to the protection provided by the trees.

    I tell that little story every time I visit the city, and believe the tree project would go along way to repair the scare that currently cuts through the city. I would support such a project, even while living in California. JUST DO IT!!!

  2. There are not many plants that will grow under a black walnut, it exudes toxic substances. It’s not harmful to humans, but they had certainly beetter consider what plantings are near this tree before they settle on it.

Comments are closed.