BELMAR, NJ — Belmar is once again a Tree City USA, an Arbor Day Foundation distinction held by 3,400 communities throughout the country.

It’s the first time since 2004 that the borough has earned the designation by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management, including maintaining a tree board, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

During the borough council’s meeting on June 7, Councilman Brian Magovern credited the Shade Tree Commission for spearheading the effort to attain the achievement. “This is something we’ve been working so hard for during the past couple of years … hours and hours of work,” said Magovern. “Now we can start applying for grants, which are so difficult to get.”

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Magovern sits on the commission along with Janet Grosshandler, Sal Circelli, Rose DaGagna and Dorsey Latza. While Grosshandler completed the Tree City USA’s 30-page application, Circelli of the borough’s Public Works Department is responsible for the borough’s ongoing tree maintenance program, overseeing its tree inventory on a regular basis to identify trees in need of pruning, as well as to plant and remove trees.

“We’re on our way back from (Superstorm) Sandy,” said Circelli, referring to the many trees that died because of the 2012 epic storm. In the past 2 ½ months alone, he has planted more than 27 trees on public property throughout Belmar.

Tree City USA is a national recognition program that began in 1976 and is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S.  Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters. In New Jersey, the program is administered  through the Department of Environmental Protection’s Forest Service division.

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