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Green Street trees need a boost, property owners told
Development, drought taking a toll, Betty Norton says
Firefighters, Gainesville Police, the Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Power arrived at the scene Sept. 21 in front of The Norton Agency, where a fallen tree closed Green Street for hours. Betty Norton, of Green Street’s Norton Agency, is hoping other business owners along the corridor will help bring more trees to Green Street, keeping the area lush with oak, maple and pecan trees. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Betty Norton wants to do her part to keep Green Street green, and she’s asking other property owners on the historic Gainesville street to join her.

Norton, of Green Street’s Norton Agency, is hoping to bring more trees to Green Street that will keep the area lush with oak, maple and pecan trees forever.

Norton said she is noticing that Green Street’s trees are losing the battle to urban development and the area’s recent drought.

This year, three trees on the Norton Agency’s property died. Two fell during recent heavy rains in Gainesville and blocked Green Street for hours.

“They’re just not as majestic as they used to be,” Norton said of Green Street’s trees.

And when Norton said she found that funds were limited for the county’s tree replacement fund, she decided to take the street’s future into her own hands.

Norton sent a letter to Green Street property owners Monday, asking them to join her in planting new trees on their property to “assure the beauty of historic Green Street for generations to come.” The letter included cost estimates for oak and maple trees from Syfan Landscaping that Norton said she hoped property owners would take advantage of.

“As a mother and a grandmother, I’m looking to the future,” Norton said. “And I feel that there needs to be an ongoing program — you can’t replace a 150-year-old tree, but you can plant a tree that in a number of years will be able to take its place.”

On Wednesday, Norton was still waiting to hear from her neighbors. Some had called to say they had already planted new trees on their property.

But whether the others respond to her call to replenish the trees on Green Street or not, Norton said she hopes she can at least be an example for others to participate in what she calls “a continuing urban reforesting effort.”

“As an independent voter, I think it’s up to the citizens to do improvements in their community,” Norton said. “I don’t think we can wait for government money... There are times when property owners need to do it themselves.”