A vacant lot used as a staging area for ATI trucks in Natrona will be transformed with ginkgo trees and other varieties as part of a partnership between Harrison and the factory.
Fifteen trees will be planted at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 in an effort to reduce water runoff and air pollution, said Tom Cajka, a member of the township tree committee.
He said the project would also provide neighboring residents with privacy from the industrial site.
“It will definitely improve the view of the streetscape of a once barren slag parking lot,” he said.
The project is the result of cooperation between ATI, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the township.
Tom DeLuca, president of ATI’s Specialty Rolled Products business unit, headquartered in Harrison, said the company has an obligation to ensure the sustainability of the communities “where we live and work”.
“This includes getting involved in opportunities like this tree planting,” he said. “It is important for us to give back and to be personally involved.
Led by Commissioner Harrison Chuck Dizard, the project will breathe new life into an otherwise drab stretch of Federal Street.
Forester Brian Crooks of TreeVitalize Pittsburgh said the tree varieties will include Zelkova Green Slime, Princeton Sentinel Ginkgo, White Shield Osage Orange and Locust.
“This event will be particularly rewarding, as we are planting trees in an area with very little tree canopy,” said Crooks.
The species were chosen specifically for this site because they are more likely to endure the extreme conditions of constant sunshine and occasional drought, he said.
“They’re all very upright growth as well. We wanted to take into account the use of the site by ATI and the high and frequent volume of truck traffic, ”said Crooks. “The shape and arrangement of the branches of these trees will allow for much greater visibility compared to other types of trees.”
Harrison volunteers will join ATI employees in planting the trees.
Dizard said that due to the difficult terrain, beds twice the usual size will be dug before the event.
“ATI repositioned the jersey barriers along the field to create a six foot protected planting and growth corridor,” said Dizard. “It gives trees a healthy growing environment. “
Trees will not interfere with traffic, he said.
Dizard said it was the first time the township and ATI have collaborated on a major tree plantation.
“We will be neck and neck, working together,” he said. “It’s a great community event.
ATI employee Theresa Walter said she was eager to participate.
“It makes me proud to say, ‘I helped build this or plant that.’ I think we need more volunteering to help the neighbors.
Marshall Stresky, senior executive of ATI’s digital technology team, said the initiative is a great opportunity to beautify the space and tone down the machine vision that seemed embedded in the neighborhood.
“A contribution of a little bit from a lot of people can make a big difference,” he said. “I’m happy to be able to add my little extra.