May 24—The City of Aiken has once again been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Aiken has been bestowed this honor for 35 consecutive years, according to Tree City USA. Trees can be seen all over the city in some of Aiken's most recognizable locations, including the ones that border and overhang on South Boundary Avenue and the variety of species found in Hopelands Gardens.
City of Aiken Horticulturist Aaron Campbell said this recognition stems from all the work done around the city.
"It means Aiken recognizes the importance that trees play in our community," Cambell said. "We spend a lot of time and effort on grooming the parkways to make them attractive to visitors."
Campbell also noted that Aiken has a tree care crew that is solely dedicated to taking care of the city's trees, and there are also parkway crews that he said do some of the more detailed work with the shrubbery.
Tree City USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation, which aims to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. There are 40 recognized communities within South Carolina's borders, with 22.62% of the state's population living in a Tree City USA community.
Aiken was eligible to be recognized as a Tree City USA by meeting the program's four requirements: having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon said the city is extremely proud to be named as a Tree City USA and trees are one of Aiken's most valuable assets.
"I think it just shows the investment we've made in sustaining and continuing to grow (trees), not just for those who are here now, but for future generations," Osbon said.
"We have both a commitment from the city and from private individuals to (continue) to position Aiken for years to come," Osbon continued.