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City 'tree's shoppers just right

It's been a long time since a tree has grown on First Street in Langley.

Early next year, the city's busiest downtown street will get back a bit of the leafy look it last had early last century when 10 trees are planted in pots on the sidewalks.

Bringing trees to First Street is something that has been discussed by the city council at intervals over the past five years, but never became reality due to worries over size and interfering with pedestrian traffic. But thanks to some planning and fund-raising done by the city's park board, the trees are coming to town next spring.

The trees will be amelanchiers, otherwise known as serviceberry or juneberry. They are deciduous trees and are columnar in shape, will be confined to large concrete planters and are not expected to grow taller than 10 feet high. Shoppers will be able to walk around and beneath them easily, said Langley Mayor Lloyd Furman.

"It will make First Street a little more beautiful," Furman said Thursday.

Bayview Farm & Garden will supply the trees and place them on the street in pots for $3,500. Paying for the trees will be $1,000 from the Langley Community Club, $1,000 from an anonymous donor and $1,500 contributed by the city.

Furman said storeowners have volunteered to water, prune and otherwise care for the trees.

Sandra Wainwright, owner of the Wayward Son, a First Street jewelry store, said downtown business people might be reluctant at first to have trees in front of their store. But, she said, the result will be worth the effort.

"Studies have shown that people will go out of their way to shop in an area with greenery," she said.

Wainwright, a member of the city's park board, said she wouldn't mind the upkeep and watering that will come with the trees. She said she hopes a garden club will become part of the beautification project and offer to plant flowers in the tree planters.

Maureen Rowley, co-owner of Bayview Farm and Garden, said this week the amelanchier is a "multi-seasonal interest tree." The tree flowers in the spring, and turns shades of red and orange in the fall.

Wainwright suggested that the trees could be spruced up with some Christmas lights for the holidays.

Furman noted that the trees will be placed so they won't interfere with storm drains. He said he hopes the trees will be in place in February and March.

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