Warwick declares its love for trees, and hate for the emerald ash borer

Warwick. The town is also working to place defibrillators in all municipal parks, per state law.

| 29 Mar 2024 | 02:26

The town of Warwick emphasized its commitment toward providing and protecting trees for the community by officially proclaiming April 26, 2024, as Arbor Day in the town.

Deputy Supervisor James Gerstner, who led the meeting in Supervisor Jesse Dwyer’s absence, read the proclamation during the March 28 Warwick Town Board meeting. The proclamation recognized the environmental, economic, and community value of trees and affirmed the town of Warwick’s efforts to protect local trees and woodlands.

The emphasis on tree preservation comes at a time when the town of Warwick faces the devastating impact of the emerald ash borer, an insect that has destroyed numerous ash trees in the town. During the town board meeting, Councilman Russ Kowal reported that the Department of Public Works has been removing ash trees from Mountain Lake Park, and commented on the broader effect of the emerald ash borer.“That emerald ash borer has really taken a toll. Throughout the town, you drive down the road, you see so many trees that are just gone. [Ash trees are] going to be a thing of the past soon in Warwick,” said Kowal.

Despite the loss of the ash varieties, trees remain an important feature of the park, and Kowal shared that the Warwick Shade Tree Commission is donating shade trees to provide sun protection for those picnicking at Mountain Lake Park.

Health and safety

Alongside the value of trees, public health and safety was another issue addressed at the March 28 meeting. Gerstner shared that New York State has mandated that all sports programs with five or more teams have an emergency medical plan for their coaches. Supervisor Dwyer and Warwick Recreation Director Sam Walter met with each of the rec sports programs to begin assisting them with their individual emergency medical plans.

In addition, the New York State law requires AEDs (automated external defibrillators) be present at all parks used for recreation. Gerstner reported that there is currently no AED at Airport Park or at the disc golf side of Union Corners Park. The town of Warwick is looking to apply to the Orange County municipal legislative grant program to cover the Airport Park AED, a cost of around $5,000. In addition, the town has secured sponsorship from Leo Kaytes for the AED for Union Corners Park.

Other business

In other funding news, the town of Warwick is applying for HUD funding for the Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center, a non-profit organization that assists children and adults with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Ahead of the town board meeting, a public hearing was held to discuss other possible projects to be considered in a grant application for HUD funding through the Orange County development block program. Eligible projects would include those relating to economic development, rehabilitation, and public works. The deadline for submission is June 24.

During the meeting, the Warwick Town Board shared that the town of Warwick Police Department has scheduled interviews for two lieutenant positions for April 16. These interviews will be conducted by a committee that includes Councilman Floyd DeAngelo, Warwick Police Chief John Rader, and Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw, in addition to the town supervisor.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to also mention that the town supervisor will be on the police department’s lieutenant interview committee.