Royal Oak Arboretum to receive 100 new trees thanks to this $250K gift

What’s happening: The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to the Royal Oak Civic Foundation. The City of Royal Oak will use the funds to plant 100 trees and perform maintenance at the Royal Oak Arboretum, the nature area formerly known as Worden Park East.

What’s planned: In addition to purchasing and planting 100 trees, the funding from the Erb Family Foundation will help the city remove invasive species, make ecosystem improvements, and add new park amenities at the Arboretum. The 4.5-acre park, just north of 13 Mile Road between Main Street and Crooks, surrounds the Royal Oak Senior Center on three sides.

Why it’s happening: The Erb Family has deep roots in Royal Oak, with their ancestors first settling in the area in the 1800s. Royal Oak was formed as a village in 1891 before incorporating as a city in 1921. The 100 trees are gifted in honor of what would have been Fred Erb’s 100th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 11. The Royal Oak grant follows the foundation already having awarded an initial $100 million in grants in honor of Fred’s birthday, which included a $450,000 grant to the Centropolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University.

What they’re saying: "The arboretum will be a visible way for us to carry on Fred's legacy for years to come," says Dr. Neil Hawkins, president of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. "Fred established his legacy in the building industry and the Erb family was one of the founding families of Royal Oak, arriving in the area in the 1800s. As we reflect on Fred's widespread impact, this grant means a lot to the Foundation and the Erb family."

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.