Tree Rescue Was Truly Team Effort
By Tim Lea
Special to The Pilot
While I greatly appreciate the "tip of the hat - and grateful waves from many leafy boughs" extended in the Aug. 12 Pilot editorial with regard to the rescue and transplanting of "a great many noble crape myrtle trees," I played only a small part.
This was truly a team effort, and the real heroes are the ones who put all the pieces together to make it actually happen.
A special note of appreciation should go to Richard Smith, director of the county's property management office; Misty Leland, county attorney; Cary McSwain, county manager; Ken Larking, assistant county manager, Sheriff Lane Carter and Chief Deputy Neil Godfrey for all their expertise and efforts on this project - and also to the staff members who worked with them.
Special thanks should also go to members of Moore Parks Foundation Board - Chairman Mitchell Harris, Vice Chairman Ralph Jacobson, Don Chaffee, Jim Dixon, Archie Kelly, Brenda Montjoy, Renee Overton and Bill Scott - for their generous donation of $9,000.
Todd McCrimmon of McCrimmon Landscaping & Grading Inc. also played an important role. His company not only agreed to do the transplanting within the necessary time frame, but also generously reduced usual charges by $7,000.
Todd Hunt of Barnhill Construction Company, the contractor for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), generously donated all the trees and worked with the county and landscaping crews to coordinate scheduling.
Jimmy Riley of Riley Paving donated the use of traffic signs and cones to control traffic so that crews could work safely. Members of the Carthage Fire Department watered in the transplanted crape myrtle trees in their new location at Hillcrest Park.
Thanks also to my fellow commissioners, who recognized this opportunity for the county and voted unanimously to approve the project.
With the NCDOT scheduled to start work installing a new guardrail and reworking of the storm drainage system on U.S. 1 on Aug. 15, this was a time-is-of-the-essence issue. Once the project was approved, Chuck Dumas and Tim Johnson of NCDOT were very helpful with scheduling so that the trees were able to be removed prior to Aug. 15 and planted at Hillcrest Park prior to Aug. 13, when the Dixie Youth World Series began there.
Hillcrest Park was only one of the designated sites for the transplanted trees. Other sites include the new Public Safety-Detention Center, the Senior Enrichment Center, Pinecrest High School, Property Management and the Public Works Building. This project could not have happened without everyone's cooperation, coordination and hard work.
Additionally, with the donations of $9,000 from Moore Parks Foundation and $7,000 from McCrimmon Landscaping, together with the $7,500 in funds already allocated for landscaping at the new Public Safety-Detention Center, actual county costs for 140 trees were about $3,500, or $25 per tree. It was definitely a win/win situation for everyone involved, and especially for the Moore County taxpayers.
As County Manager Cary McSwain said, "This is a great example of 'One team, One Mission." It is truly heartening to see what is possible when people are willing to come together and work together on projects that are good for the county, especially in today's difficult economic environment.
Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this possible!
Robert Timothy "Tim" Lea is a member of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
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