A Family’s Legacy to Keep Trees Growing in Hendersonville

Trees in Downtown Hendersonville.
City of Hendersonville

During the past 21 years, numerous trees have been planted along Hendersonville’s Main Street and downtown area.  Many are now mature arbors gracing the sidewalks. Others were recently planted and are settling in nicely.

These trees were paid for by the family and descendants of Louis Sherman, founder of Sherman Sporting Goods.  This is truly a grassroots effort to keep Hendersonville green and gorgeous.  Becky Banadyga, the daughter of Louis’s son Kalman, is the current owner with her husband Rex of Sherman Sporting Goods on Main Street.  She reported this little-known information while describing the history of the Sherman Tree Fund at a recent meeting of Hendersonville Tree Board. Tree Board members learned that the Fund will provide for more trees this year and for years to come.

These trees provide shade in summer, flowers in spring, autumn colors, and winter dignity and contribute to the park-like ambiance of downtown.  It was Kalman Sherman who created the Sherman Tree Fund in 1997 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the opening of Sherman Sporting Goods store.  His initial donation of $7,500 at the Community Foundation of Henderson County has now grown to more than $40,000.  He was inspired to do so, Banadyga reported, by the example of the Jewish National Fund, which subsidizes the planting of trees in Israel.

During the years since the Sherman Tree Fund was established, the City of Hendersonville and the Tree Board have been able to add trees and replace trees on city and public properties downtown.  Anyone may make a contribution to this donor-advised fund. Such citizen involvement and support for environmental beauty has enabled Hendersonville to be a Tree City USA, designated by the Arbor Day Foundation, and in 2018 to be designated by North Carolina Forest Service as Tree City of the Year in North Carolina.

“Dad was a Boy Scout and he loved trees,” Banadyga said.  “When I was a child coming to the family store, I remember the large trees that lined the street.  Dad believed trees were important to the beauty, health, and prosperity of our community and commercial areas.”

The Jewish National Fund was established in 1901, and the nonprofit organization states it has planted over 240 million trees in Israel and established more than 1,000 parks.

“This locally-funded tree-care program makes for a handsome, healthy downtown arboretum that we all enjoy,” said Tom Wooten, director of Public Works Department.  “We are proud of our urban forest throughout the city, and our Main Street is popular with locals and visitors because of its beauty.”

Hendersonville Tree Board is commissioned by the City of Hendersonville to provide advice on the selection and care of trees and shrubs in public places.  The Tree Board also educates the public concerning the economic and aesthetic benefits of trees and shrubs for the community.  The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Hendersonville as a Tree City USA for 25 years because of its high level of tree care.  The city also became a Bee City USA in 2015.  In 2018 it was named Tree City of the Year in North Carolina by the NC Forest Service.

To learn more about Hendersonville Tree Board and its projects, visit the webpage at www.hendersonvillenc.gov/tree-board.