John Erb, son of local Royal Oak lumber scion Fred Erb, on behalf of the Erb Family Foundation has generously provided a grant in the amount of $250,000.00 to the Royal Oak Civic Foundation, a Royal Oak 501(c)(3) non-profit entity tasked with supporting the needs and improving the lives of the Royal Oak community, for use at the Royal Oak Arboretum located immediately adjacent to the Royal Oak Senior Center off 13 Mile Road. The funds will be used to complete the Arboretum’s collection of native Michigan tree species as well as irrigation improvements, native shrubs and wildflowers, observation benches, trail signage, maintenance equipment and general infrastructure improvements.
A groundbreaking was hosted by the Royal Oak Arboretum to commemorate the grant fittingly on Arbor Day on April 27, 2023. The celebration featured presentations by Aaron Filipski, Director of Recreation and Public Services at the City of Royal Oak, John Erb and Tom McGannon, Chair of the Royal Oak Civic Foundation, and was heavily attended by residents, City leaders and even the 3rd grade class from Addams Elementary School.
“Trees increase air and water quality, reduce storm water runoff, and have a cooling effect with their shade,” Filipski said. “They also have benefits related to health and happiness. Trees also improve property values and economic activity.”
“It’s fitting that this city is named for a tree,” Erb told the crowd at the Arbor Day event praising the City of Royal Oak for its existing and expanding canopy of trees.
The first new tree to be funded by the grant was planted in the Arboretum by John Erb and the students of Addams Elementary and was fitting for the planting of the next generation of trees in Royal Oak by a business that was founded in the City. The Royal Oak Arboretum was renamed the Fred A. Erb Arboretum in honor on the late Fred Erb. The grant marks the largest gift to date to the newly formed Royal Oak Civic Foundation and continues the local 501(c)(3) non-profit on its mission to improve the city’s health, safety and cultural opportunities by inspiring the philanthropy of residents and business leaders to support a thriving, resilient community.