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The City of Garland’s Where the Heart Is program partners with one neighborhood each year to initiate overall neighborhood reinvestment. Residents work together with City staff, nonprofits, businesses, religious groups and volunteers to stimulate positive physical and social change over the year.
This year’s program focused on Garland’s Western Heights neighborhood, which is bordered by Western Drive, Shiloh Road, Walnut Street and Lawson Drive.
Many Arizona Ash trees in the neighborhood died as a result of a winter storm several years ago, including many in the right-of-way. City staff suggested tree sculptures for trees in the right-of-way to incorporate artwork in the neighborhood. Residents suggested creating a walking route on sidewalks connecting all the right-of-way sculptures in the neighborhood.
Garland’s Office of Neighborhood Vitality identified a dozen dead, dying or dangerous trees that would be optimal for carving, as well as another six that might qualify as candidates for sculptures. After the Western Heights block party on Aug. 4, four residents submitted applications to have their trees also evaluated for possible sculptures.
Kevin Roach, a chainsaw artist based out of Decatur, Texas, was commissioned to complete the sculptures. He has done sculptures for businesses, residents and public institutions across the state, including for the cities of Decatur and Argyle. After resident input and discussions with the artist and the Office of Neighborhood Vitality, a design for each tree was decided.
In October, Roach began working on the sculptures. Each tree took about four to six hours, depending on size. When completed, a yard sign was placed next to each sculpture. Then, three more residents submitted interest in having their trees sculpted.
“The Where the Heart Is initiative is not a standardized, cookie-cutter process. It is tailored to the neighborhood we are working with,” Neighborhood Resources Manager Scott Bollinger said. ”We observed this particular neighborhood having many dead or dying trees in the parkway medians, and then presented the tree sculpture idea to the residents, which they enthusiastically accepted. We feel the tree sculptures not only turn a negative into a positive, but allowed us to give something unique to Western Heights.”
Residents with qualifying trees in the public right-of-way in the Western Heights neighborhood may still submit applications as funding remains available for this Where the Heart Is neighborhood. For more information, contact the Office of Neighborhood Vitality at Neighborhoods@GarlandTX.gov or 972-205-2445.