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Businessman devoted to tree-lined streets

February 01, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Harry Morningstar could be likened to John Chapman, better known as legendary Johnny Appleseed, who traveled a young America planting apple trees.

Morningstar, 46, a Waynesboro businessman, has been leading an effort to get trees planted along Waynesboro's Main Street since he was 15.

He started raising money to buy and plant trees for the downtown as a community service project to earn his Eagle Scout award. Morningstar is still the catalyst behind the borough's effort to line both sides of Main Street with greenery.

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Waynesboro Mayor Louis M. Barlup Jr. praised Morningstar for taking the lead on the tree-planting effort over the years.

"He's done a great job," Barlup said.

Some of the earliest trees that Morningstar's effort helped to plant, a species of maple, did not withstand the rigors of urban life.

"They're stunted and don't adapt well," he said.

The maples slowly are being replaced with species that can stand a modern urban environment. The newer varieties - lilac, linden, pear and cherry - have been enjoying a 100 percent survival rate, he said.

Local horticulturists help to select the species, he said.

Morningstar said when the tree-planting project is complete, decorative trees will line both sides of Main Street, beginning at the YMCA in the east and in the west to the bottom of Frick Hill.

Trees are planted in the fall at the rate of 30 a year. So far, more than 200 have been planted. The goal is 300, Morningstar said.

Morningstar, working with Main Street Waynesboro Inc., raises the money to buy the trees through the sale of memorial plaques that are installed at the base of each tree and through the sale of posters depicting front doors of the borough.

He also raises money to pay for an annual trimming of the trees after they mature.

Employees at his Furniture Market store water the trees in their first year and during droughts.

Steve Klipp of Waynesboro said he paid for a tree several years ago in memory of his uncle, Bernard Rodgers.

"It's a great way to immortalize someone. Their memory lives on through a tree," he said.

Morningstar said he reports to the Borough Council on the number of trees to be planted each year.

Members of the borough's shade tree committee include Morningstar, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger, Gary Fike and Thomas McCloud.

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