Jim Morris, a retired Cobb Juvenile Court chief judge who serves as secretary of Marietta Treekeepers, Inc., a nonprofit group that plants trees in the city’s public spaces, has urged the Council to plant a tree canopy along the sun-baked section of Church Street from Shillings Restaurant several blocks north to Lemon Street.
“The literature says people who are shopping in bright, hot, sunlit, treeless areas think that the store that they’re going into has people less knowledgeable about their product, they’re less willing to pay a higher price for a product, they think the quality is going to be worse in an un-shady area,” Morris said. “They’re just unhappy consumers.”
City Manager Bill Bruton said because the sidewalk is not wide enough to plant trees there, their options are limited. The city could buy above-ground planters, although those would limit the size of the trees. Otherwise, the city would have to carve out portions of the sidewalk and street while
avoiding underground utility lines to make room for tree beds, he said.
“It’s not as easy as just saying like on Roswell Street or Powder Springs, ‘let’s put a tree every so many feet,’” Bruton said.
Morris said Church Street isn’t the only shop-lined road in need of shade.
“If you stand at any corner on the Square, and you look toward the Square, you’ve got trees,” he said. “You look away from the Square, and you don’t have trees. It’s just remarkable.”
Mill Street and Powder Springs Street near the Square could also use trees, Bruton said.
Bruton said some of the costs of planting the trees could be paid out of the city’s tree fund, which currently holds $193,000.
During its series of committee meetings Thursday, the City Council asked staff to bring back a report on the matter in the next 60 days.