Honoring Scranton’s Leaders: 30 Trees for 30 Mayors


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Friday is Arbor Day, a day dedicated to the public planting of trees.

Scranton marked the occasion by unveiling 30 new trees at Nay Aug Park, one in honor of each of the city’s 30 mayors.

All of the new trees have been planted in Hanlon’s Grove, near the park’s old zoo.

This section of the park was created a few years ago as a place for families to have picnics and family reunions.

There is now a new monument in Hanlon’s Grove.

It honors all 30 mayors who have built the city of Scranton into what it is today.

A tree has also been planted in each man’s honor.

“Over the years, the mayors have been helpful to the tree program especially the recent mayors,” Tony Santoli said.

Tony Santoli is the city forester.

He hopes each tree grows and proposers like the way its specific namesake helped his city.

“It’s almost appropriate that it’s raining today because that is what nourishes the trees so it means a great deal to me. I feel very happy to be here,” former mayor Jimmy Connors said. Connors served from 1990 to 2002 in Scranton.

Four of the city’s six living mayors attended the dedication.

They included Gene Peters, Jimmy Connors, Bill Courtright and David Wenzel.

Wenzel acknowledged how rare it is for everyone to get together.

“It’s occasions like this that really boy you up and want you to do that much more for the city,” former mayor David Wenzel said. Wenzel served as mayor from 1986 to 1990 in Scranton.

While trees are important for oxygen and building homes, the current mayor of Scranton says old and decaying trees have actually become a big liability.

In recent years, 2,700 dangerous trees have been taken down across the city of Scranton.

Roughly 2,300 have been planted in their place.

“It’s one of the biggest dangers that we have in the city and people don’t realize that,” Mayor Bill Courtright said.

The new trees unveiled Friday in Hanlon’s Grove include Japanese Lilac trees, Star Magnolia trees and October Glory trees. They are all now beginning to bud out.

Money for all of the new trees and the monument came from donors, community groups and local businesses. 

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