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Arbor Day & Colonial marquee celebrations a success


City officials and community members gathered Friday, April 27, to celebrate Arbor Day and new marquee at Colonial Theatre

April 30, 2018

BUCKHANNON, WV: Friday evening, City of Buckhannon and community members met at Jawbone Park for a tree dedication in honor of Arbor Day. Afterward, the group walked up Trader’s Alley to celebrate the new marquee at the Colonial Theatre. Create Buckhannon sold tickets to win the chance to “hit the switch” and light up the new marquee. Paul Rank was the winner and pulled the lever to light up the Colonial marquee for the first time as a theatre since 1980. Onlookers cheered and celebrated the achievement of so many who have worked for this day through efforts with ART26201, City of Buckhannon, Buckhannon Community Theatre and more. Renovations will continue at the theatre both inside and out, and the City and partnering organizations hope to see the next public performance event to take place this summer. You may donate to the fundraising campaign any time by calling City Hall at (304) 472-1651 or elect to make a recurring monthly contribution via your utility payment. Follow this link for the enrollment form:

Mayor’s remarks for Arbor Day 2018

Welcome everyone to our City of Buckhannon’s celebration of National Arbor Day.  We also belatedly celebrate Earth Day that was actually last Sunday, April 22.  The very first American Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska City, Nebraska on April 10, 1872.  One million trees were planted in Nebraska to commemorate that first Arbor Day.  146 years later, we continue to celebrate National Arbor Day during the last Friday each April.  The person most responsible for the establishment of Arbor Day was Nebraska journalist Julius Sterling Morton, who later became the U.S. Agriculture Secretary under President Grover Cleveland.

          Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they provide us with oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil, and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter.  Trees stabilize our watersheds & river banks, preventing erosion.  Not only are trees essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between our past, present, and future.  It’s critical that woodlands, rainforests, and trees in urban settings, such as parks, are preserved and sustainably managed across the world.

          The canopies of trees act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air. Each individual tree removes up to 1.7 kilos of pollutants every year. They also provide shade from solar radiation and reduce noise.

          Many species of trees and shrubs possess medicinal properties. The oil from birch bark, for example, has antiseptic properties.  Research shows that within minutes of being surrounded by trees and green space, your blood pressure drops, your heart rate slows, and your stress levels are reduced.

          Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and the carbon that they store in their wood helps slow the rate of global warming.  They reduce wind speeds and cool the air as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves. It’s estimated that trees can reduce the temperature in urban areas by up to 7°C.

          Trees host complex microhabitats. When young, they offer habitation and food to amazing communities of birds, insects, lichen, and fungi. When ancient, their trunks also provide the hollow cover needed by species such as bats, woodboring beetles, tawny owls, and woodpeckers.  One mature oak can be home to as many as 500 different species.

          Trees strengthen the distinctive character of a place and encourage local pride. Urban woodland can be used as an educational resource and to bring groups together for activities like walking and bird-watching. Trees are also invaluable for children to play in and discover their sense of adventure.

          People are attracted to live, work, and invest in green surroundings. Research shows that average house prices are 5-18% higher when properties are close to mature trees. Companies benefit from a healthier, happier workforce if there are parks and trees nearby.

          Joyce Kilmer, American poet & soldier during WWI- he was a man, not a woman, wrote “Trees” in 1913 only five years prior to dying on a battlefield at the age of 31 in France.  Indulge me for a minute as we remember one of the most treasured poems in our nation’s history:

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.


          Twice just last year, Buckhannon was recognized as the greenest & most sustainable community in all of West Virginia.  Tonight we celebrate the planting by our city horticulturist, Rob Barbor, of this beautiful Autumn Blaze Maple sapling right here in our Jawbone Park.  We will continue to be vigilant in the protection of our environment & to do our part to save our planet including by planting many more trees.  Thanks for attending this evening’s ceremony.  You are invited to walk up Trader’s Alley for our fun in front of your Colonial Theatre that will begin in just a few minutes. 

Mayor’s remarks for the Light Up the Marquee Celebration

Welcome everyone to our City of Buckhannon’s inaugural Light Up Buckhannon Night.  We’ll be celebrating the next big step in the renovation of our Colonial Theatre during the next hour.  At 9:00 p.m., we’ll draw the winning raffle ticket to determine who gets to hit the throttle to illuminate our refurbished & newly reinstalled marquee.  Tickets are a dollar a pop or six for five bucks.  I’ll be peddling the tickets from now till 9:00.  The theatre’s doors are open for your inspection.  Please be careful, there’s still debris inside & we are not anywhere near finished in our work there.

          Before I introduce the Whiskey Shakes, I’d like you to hear briefly from our City architect who is more invested in this project than all of the rest of us put together.  Please join me in a round of applause for Bryson VanNostrand.

(Bryson Van Nostrand speaks.)


          Before we draw the winning ticket, I want to thank Create Buckhannon for sponsoring our raffle this evening.  It’s important that we pause to celebrate our many accomplishments before moving on to the next big thing, the next project.  Just Sunday evening we celebrated the opening of Stone Tower Brews.  Very soon it will be Rob Kress & Taylor Foster’s new fitness center.  Then we’ll break ground on the Innovation Center.  Then we’ll open the Opera House & open the doors at Harbor Freight.  Then we’ll break ground on that new Stockert auditorium/gymnasium.  It will be a busy few months in our downtown, that is a totally happening place.  One final plug, Sledgehammer Day tee-shirts are available for order for $20 just give me your size.  Now for the winning ticket- Bryson, please draw our winner-   (Winner was Paul Rank)

Callie Cronin Sams,