A critical component of the Unity Park Master Plan is the Tree Management Plan, which addresses how the river restoration project and construction of the park will impact the trees located on the site and outlines the City’s plan to mitigate that impact. With the assistance of TreesUpstate, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to plant, promote and protect trees in the Upstate, the project team has identified the species of trees, assessed the health of the native trees and developed a reforestation strategy.
Of the 596 trees that were surveyed, 214 trees will be preserved and incorporated into the design. The trees identified for removal include invasive and non-native trees, trees found to be in decline or threatened by pests and diseases, and trees that conflict with the park and playground design. Approximately half of them are located within the Reedy River restoration area, where strategic tree removal is necessary to accommodate grading changes and re-establish native vegetation.
The City and the contractor will work to preserve existing trees wherever possible, and each tree proposed for removal will be verified by the City arborist before it is removed. Wood from the trees that are removed will be incorporated into the Reedy River restoration to increase bank stability, provide habitat and add visual interest.
Nearly 750 deciduous, evergreen and understory trees will be planted throughout the park to reestablish the tree canopy and provide habitat, shade and visual interest. Overall, nearly two trees will be planted for every tree removed.
According to TreesUpstate, which has reviewed and approved the plan, with proper tree installation and care, the reforestation plan will be an improvement to the existing tree canopy and will provide public health, economic and environmental benefits for generations to come.