Cullman Tree Commission begins plans for 2024 Festival of Trees, nominates new member

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Cullman City Tree Commission Chairman Barry Slatton holds a vote for the Commission’s newest nomination, Pat Sharpton. (Cheyenne Sharp)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman Tree Commission met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 9, began planning for the 2024 Festival of Trees and nominated a new member.

Cullman resident Pat Sharpton was nominated for the empty seat left by retired member Peggy Harris. Sharpton is a retired schoolteacher with ample time to assist the Tree Commission in its planning and execution of events and initiatives.

Said Chairman Barry Slatton, “She has been described as incredibly intelligent and reliable by one of our board members. She works with the Agriplex and a good bit with West Elementary School. She has been a past president of the Cullman County Master Gardeners and she has willingly volunteered to be a board member. I think she is very well qualified.”

Present members approved Sharpton’s nomination; a recommendation will be made to the Cullman City Council that she be appointed to the open seat.

Slatton asked City Arborist Shane Blevins to begin to create a long-term plan for the treescapes in the city arboretum and city areas, as well as make suggestions for species that local homeowners should plant in their yards.

During the discussion about plans, Lee McBride, a private arborist, brought up potential plans that may exist from a previous City Arborist Darrell Johns.

McBride said, “It may be obsolete at this point, but I know he identified specific trees on City property. He had a long-term plan to replace some trees. Like I said, it may be obsolete, but I know that document existed at one point.”

Blevins and McBride agreed to search for the document with the help of Leanne West and resume the discussion at the next scheduled meeting.

There were no updates on the arboretum housed at Sportsman Lake Park; members Joel Moon and B.J. Morgan have been spending time identifying and documenting the different species of trees found there.

The last discussion of the meeting was this year’s Festival of Trees. Last year’s was the inaugural event, and it was successful. The commission has begun planning for this year’s festival.  Last year’s trees were housed in the lobby of Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center; Slatton was grateful for the venue, but he said he hopes that this year an outdoor location can be secured. The show will be in November, but no specific dates have been announced.

The next Cullman Tree Commission meeting will be June 18, at 10 a.m. at Cullman City Hall.

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