As part of the town’s ongoing effort to beautify the community and add to Cutler Bay’s “green” initiative, its Public Works Department on Nov. 15 planted the 2000th Live Oak tree in front of property owned by pioneering original Cutler Bay owners, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ketchum.
Since Cutler Bay’s incorporation in 2005 a major effort of the town council has been to repair the damage to the area’s natural beauty caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. With the establishment of a “Street Tree Master Plan,”
with its goal of planting more than 270 trees along the swale areas of Cutler Bay each fiscal year and a decision by the town council to appropriate $150,000 per year as a financial commitment toward that goal, the town has made steady progress.
“The planting of these trees is just another example of the mayor and town council’s commitment to their mission of making our town an excellent place to live, work and play,” said Rafael G. Casals, town manager. “It is personally satisfying to me when homeowners call to thank the town for improving the character of their neighborhood and creating a more pedestrian-friendly environment.”
On Oct. 28, 2010, the town council and staff commemorated the planting of the 700th tree, which was considered quite an accomplishment for a “young” municipality. Cutler Bay earned the Tree City USA designation in 2008 and received the Tree City USA “Growth Award” for meeting the Nebraska-based organization’s specific criteria.
Since the 2000th tree was added in the swale of property owners Mr. and Mrs. Robert Ketchum, they were invited to symbolically shovel some of the dirt at the completion of the planting process.
The “Street Tree Master Plan” fits into the town’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan, which calls for enhancing the aesthetics of the community and encouraging pedestrian activity.
According to Public Works Department director Alfredo Quintero Jr., “A significant component in implementing these goals is providing adequate tree canopy throughout the residential neighborhoods. Providing several environmental benefits, the native trees will protect water quality, reduce air and noise pollution, provide energy saving shade and are a habitat for wildlife. Trees also are known for increasing property values and are aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, trees provide stormwater runoff prevention by reducing the overall volume of water pollutants affecting area canals and Biscayne Bay as much as 12 percent.”