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Lutheran Services keeps it green at new headquarters

Officials at Lutheran Services for the Aging did more than think green when they moved into their new building last year. They designed their parking lot around it.
Parking for the new facility on South Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, was designed around the existing landscape and trees. Lutheran Services Director of Special Projects Kesha Smith worked with state-certified city arborist Mark Martin to determine which trees were healthy and which ones had structural damage.
“I met with Mark, and we walked around the property checking all the trees for signs of decay, broken limbs, holes and other problems,” Smith said. Lutheran Services then contacted Graham’s Tree Service to help with tree removal and pruning.
“It would have been easy and less costly just to level everything to build our parking lot, but we really wanted to be good stewards of the land and preserve the natural surroundings,” Smith said.
She said Lutheran Services’ architects, the city and Graham’s Tree Service worked with the agency to make a functional parking lot that also protected the environment.
Only four trees were cleared due to damage and sight-obstruction, saving dozens of willow oaks, red maples and elm trees.
“Environmentalism is part of being a good citizen in the community,” said Lutheran Services President Ted W. Goins Jr. “… We take that responsibility very seriously. We were advised that it would be easier to just cut the trees down, but sometimes the easy solution is not always best.”
Martin, the arborist, said Lutheran Services made a great sacrifice for the environment.
“Trees not only reduce carbon in the atmosphere, but because less asphalt was used, reduction of rainwater run-off in the storm drain system should be considerably diminished,” he said.
Martin said he is available to meet with any business within the city limits to discuss tree conservation.
“Protecting the environment is the responsibility of all citizens, and I applaud (Lutheran Services) for taking the initiative on this project,” he said.
Lutheran Services, a not-for-profit healthcare organization, operates nursing homes, retirement communities and adult day services in North Carolina.

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