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City of Morris authorizes grant application for community forest money

MORRIS, Minn. - The Morris City Council approved submitting a grant application for a Community Forest Bonding Grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that would allow the city to plant more than 230 trees over the next three years.

In his memo to the council, City Manager Blaine Hill said money from the grant "can be used for planting trees that replace those destroyed or to plant a more diverse community forest to protect the nature of the forest."

Hill said the Tree Board has met to review the grant, which will request about $25,000 for 233 trees, and will take the lead on making sure projects get completed. Planting areas will include East Side Park, Green River Park and Pomme de Terre Park, as well as replacing trees downtown that have been damaged.

The board has also worked with City Inspecting Engineer Jay Fier to go over plans and coordinate between the city and the board. The tree planting will be done by city crews, contractors and volunteers.

Other business

• Mayor Sheldon Giese appointed Don Goracke to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority board.

• The council reviewed a draft of a survey that will be distributed as part of the State of Minnesota's Performance Measure Program in March or April with utility bills. The survey includes questions in ten categories of city performance including appearance, public safety, street conditions, library services and more.

Miller suggested adding a question about how residents feel about customer service at city hall. Council member Twig Webster suggested adding a question to find out how citizens feel about Morris as a destination point, as part of the city and Chamber of Commerce's ongoing tourism efforts.