Arbor Day Observance Friday
PLAINFIELD – An Arbor Day ceremony and tree planting Friday will be dedicated to the memory of the late Charles E. Billups, a longtime neighborhood activist.
“He was dedicated to the upkeep and betterment of East Sixth Street,” said Clifford Jackson, a resident since 1966.
Mr. Billups made the neighborhood’s needs known to city officials and was able to get several trees planted and one block made into a safer, one-way street. He organized vigils against drug activity and convinced law enforcement officials to add foot patrols and extra squad car surveillance to deter crime.
“He brought about many changes,” Jackson said.
Mr. Billups helped residents with complaints to contact the proper officials for resolution. He also brought City Council members and other authorities to speak at the group’s monthly meetings in City Hall.
The ceremony Friday will begin at 11 a.m. at Bryant Park, 419 E. Sixth St. Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, members of the City Council, Department of Public Works and the Shade Tree Commission invite all residents to attend. An American Chestnut on Madison Avenue and a Tulip Tree on Stelle Avenue will be named Specimen Trees for 2009. Five Japanese Tree Lilacs will be planted, along with eight Kwanzan Cherries at South Second Street and Muhlenberg Place.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care.
National Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, is celebrated on the last Friday in April. See http://www.arborday.org/arborday/ for more information.