When NASCAR picked Riverhead Town as one of five places across the country to get a gift of trees under its Green Clean Air program for municipalities with racetracks, no one specified where any of the 71 trees would be located.
Now, Riverhead has planted the first half-dozen. And, they won’t be beautifying parks or bringing shade to some of the rural streets.
They’re going to the dogs.
The first six trees purchased with the $10,000 NASCAR grant have been planted at the town’s animal shelter on Youngs Avenue in Calverton, just outside the fence where dogs run free during the day, bringing much-needed shade.
Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the trees would not only provide shade, but would improve the look of the “ramshackle” shelter, and that without the grant, the town would never have come up with the money for them. “We love to make things look better,” he said.
Town officials say the rest of the trees will be scattered throughout the town, but specific sites have not yet been determined.
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (Aug. 5, 2012)