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Newton taps federal COVID relief funds to support city trees, local trails

Newton will tap some of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to help support local efforts to protect city trees and upgrade walking trails to make them more accessible, according to Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

The city will use $250,000 in federal relief funds to purchase a new watering truck for trees, and spend an additional $150,000 in rescue plan funds to speed up renovations of trails and paths to improve their condition and accessibility, Fuller said in a statement.

The pandemic helped strengthen the city’s conviction of the importance of Newton’s parks and conservation lands, according to Fuller. And many residents enjoy those areas in all seasons by walking the local trails and pathways.


The city has work underway to improve accessibility at playgrounds and in swimming at Crystal Lake, and the COVID relief funds also will help upgrade trails to make them more accessible, the mayor said.

One project will be at Lyons Field in Auburndale, where the city will build a path to seating at the baseball diamond and concession stand area, Fuller said.

The separate funding for the watering truck will allow the city to conduct pruning of young trees, and to address the backlog of mature street tree pruning, according to Fuller.

The city’s forestry staff, along with the work of contractors and volunteers from the Newton Tree Conservancy, already plant and care for young trees, identify and remove dangerous trees and limbs, and complete the removal of stumps, Fuller said.

The city also is finishing a complete inventory of city trees and developing a City Street Tree Master Plan. The new vehicle will help support work to preserve the city’s trees, she said.

“Our significant investments in new trees over the past decade need to be carefully nurtured to assure they grow and thrive into full canopy trees,” Fuller said.


John Hilliard can be reached at