Mayor Nancy R. Rossi reactivated the Tree Commission by appointing four new members at the City Council meeting April 22. The commission has not met since 2016.
The members appointed had served on the commission in the past and have agreed to work with the mayor to bring back the promotion and preservation of healthy trees for the benefit of the community.
Rossi appointed Rosemary Beloin, John Haas, Robert Marra and Michelle Matteo. Moshe Cohen is a current member who will join the new appointees to round out the five-member commission.
“There is not a better time to have a group of experts to monitor and protect our city trees,” Rossi said. “In the recent past, we have experienced major storms, droughts and invasive insects that have all attributed to the decline and loss of some of our mature trees and overall tree canopy across the city.”
The commission will work closely with the city’s tree warden, Leo Kelly, to improve West Haven’s Tree Management Plan and tree inventory process.
“I look forward to working with this very talented group of individuals to increase conservation efforts, arboricultural education programs and tree plantings across the city,” Rossi said. “Trees and the urban forest offer so many environmental and community benefits, including energy conservation, stormwater management, erosion control, and, of course, they beautify our community.”
“The Tree Commission will have the complete support of my administration,” Rossi said after the appointments were approved by the City Council.
West Haven enjoyed a strong and active Tree Commission in the past and was recognized as a “Tree City USA” community. The city lost the recognition years ago but is looking to regain the prestigious designation.
Tree City USA is awarded by the National Arbor Day Foundation and is recommended by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. In 2018, 18 Connecticut communities met the required standards and were awarded the designation.
“Tree City USA brings national, regional and state recognition to the city and sends the message that we care about the environment and want to improve our community,” Rossi said.