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OLEAN – For the 27th year, Olean has been recognized as a Tree City USA.

“For 27 years, you have continued to make efforts to make Olean a greener place,” said Wayne Cooper, a representative of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“From hiring a city forester to making proclamations of Arbor Day, you have demonstrated your commitment to the trees of Olean,” Cooper told Mayor Linda L. Witte and Council President Ann McLaughlin last week.

Cooper, presenting a green and white flag that symbolizes a city’s recognition as a Tree City, said the North Union Street project looks as though it will add to the trees and the greenery in the city. The project calls for cutting what once was considered the widest street in the United States from four travel lanes to one 11-foot lane in each direction, separated by a 16-foot-wide median that could be lush with trees and other greenery.

In addition, developments on West State Street have resulted in the planting of more trees along the corridor, with more to come.

“As we work toward fixing the roadway by Bradner Stadium, we are talking about incorporating trees there as well,” Witte said.

She pointed out that Cooper and his wife are an important pieces of the puzzle in keeping the trees of Olean healthy.

To be designated as a Tree City USA, a municipality must adhere to four core standards. It must have a tree board or department; an established tree-care ordinance; a community forestry program with a budget of at least $2 per capita; and an Arbor Day observance or proclamation.