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Victoria Verplank Tree Nursery to be dedicated today

Marie Havenga • Oct 25, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Spring Lake Village will celebrate a long-time resident when it dedicates the Victoria Verplank Tree Nursery at 4 p.m. today.

The dedication takes place at the tree nursery, 15497 State Road in Spring Lake Township. Meet near the Spring Lake Country Club swimming pool for shuttle service to the nursery.

Verplank died in 2014 at the age of 69.

“In 2014, the village lost a resident who was passionate about the health of the village tree canopy,” Village Manager Chris Burns said.

Verplank was a philanthropist, Spring Lake Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, avid supporter of the North Bank Communities Fund, and former Village Council member and president.

“Upon Victoria Verplank's passing, the family created the Victoria Verplank Memorial Fund at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, of which we have been a benefactor each year since her passing,” Burns noted.

Out of respect for Verplank's family, Burns said she doesn't want to disclose the amount of the annual gift, but said the funds go to the village’s forestry budget to offset the cost of arborist services, purchasing trees and tree trimming.

In 2007, the original village tree nursery at Central Park's dog park was funded by Spring Lake Rotary and the North Bank Communities Fund.

“The location also happened to be next to the Consumers Energy substation and directly under high-power electric transmission lines,” Burns said. “Hindsight being what it is, that wasn't exactly the best location.”

In 2016, the Spring Lake Country Club offered the village use of the property on State Road for a new tree nursery. The club installed irrigation and village public works staff prepped the site and planted the trees, Burns said.

This is the first year the village has been able to move trees from the new nursery to their permanent location within the rights of way throughout the village.

“These trees have had ideal growing conditions, thanks to the care from the Spring Lake Country Club staff and the Village DPW crew,” Burns said.

Burns said maintaining a healthy tree canopy isn't easy, but the village has consistently been honored as a “Tree City, USA” because of such efforts. The village is required to spend $2 per resident and $4,646 per year, and plant two trees for each one that is removed, in order to maintain the designation.

Burns said the village actually spends about $38,000 per year on arborist services, including trimming, removal, tree purchases and planting.

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