The tree planting ceremony Friday signified that the rebuilding long journey is nearing a close. Cyphers said that 98% of residents in the township have fully recovered since the tornadoes, and the city is finally in its final phase of rebuilding.
Woody Stroud, left and Harrison Twp. Trustee, Georgeann Godsey plant a tree at Sinclair Park Friday June4, 2021. The township held a tree planting kickoff at Sinclair Park to begin restoring the tree canopy lost to the Memorial Day tornados in 2019. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
“We needed to leave (Sinclair Park) for last because the residents’ homes were more important,” he said. “We are far enough along that we can finally focus on the public facilities.”
The Harrison Twp. Board of Trustees has plans to plant more than 400 trees in the next several years. Local partnerships with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Miami Valley Long-Term Recovery Operations Group, Miami Valley Treecovery Campaign, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Keep Montgomery County Beautiful, and help from volunteers has made the rebuilding of Sinclair Park possible.
A special guest was in attendance at the event on Friday afternoon. Woody Shroud was a camp counselor from 1955-1959 at a YMCA day camp that took place on the grounds of what is now Sinclair Park. He said a few words about his time as a camp counselor at the park at the ceremony.
“It was a beautiful facility here then, with sycamore trees everywhere, a beautiful canopy, and campers enjoying themselves running through the area,” Shroud said.
Shroud, along with all in attendance, showed visible excitement that a park that has served the community for so many years is finally getting rebuilt.
“I am delighted with what (Harrison Twp.) is doing and it truly brings back memories for me,” Shroud said.
Along with the plan to regrow the trees in the park, there are also plans to rebuild a park shelter that was also destroyed in the tornadoes. A playground has also been built and is now open for use at the park.
“The goal is to get the trees planted for the newer generations,” Cyphers said.