by Kate Shunney
Schools in Hancock should get a little shadier in the future, but only in a good way.
County officials heard a recommendation from Scott Hobbs, Washington County Division of Engineering, to hire Conservation Services, Inc. of Waynesboro, Va. to plant 28.8 acres of trees on Washington County Board of Education properties this fall. Hancock Elementary and High School are on the list of schools to receive tree plantings.
Hobbs recommended the hire of Conservation Services, which $215,224 to complete the countywide project.
The trees and associated work is expected to be done by this November. A notice to proceed is anticipated in August.
According to county documents, the Board of Education has proposed planting seedlings on .7 acres at the Hancock High School complex, to the east of the rear parking lot.
At Hancock Elementary, trees are planning in three areas – a .69-acre plot to the west of the entrance, .2 acres close to Main Street and a small plot to the east of the main building.
Planting trees on public school properties is a way to improve water quality, and helps the county meet certain requirements under the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit, say county officials.
Trees help stabilize soil, prevent erosion and slow down runoff so it can be absorbed into the ground rather than running into stormwater systems or into streets.
Funds for the trees, planting work and maintenance will come from the Stormwater Retrofits account in the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, according to the meeting agenda item.
Trees will be planted at the county’ s Board of Education office, and at schools in Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Funkstown, Smithsburg, Williamsport, Hagerstown and elsewhere in the county.
The contract bid includes mowing the areas to be planted, hand-planting of bare root tree seedlings. mowing maintenance around the new trees and spot application of herbicides.