In celebration of Arbor Day this year, Leavenworth officials also plan to honor a sister city.

In celebration of Arbor Day this year, Leavenworth officials also plan to honor a sister city.

City officials will be planting two Yoshino cherry trees Friday in North Esplanade Park in honor of the sister city relationship between Leavenworth and Omihachiman, Japan.

The Arbor Day ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. off of Esplanade Street between Seneca and Miami streets. The event is open to the public.

City officials will be adding to the number of Yoshino cherry trees that previously were planted at the site as a gift from Omihachiman.

“I’ve been wanting to add a couple more,” said Steve Grant, director of the Leavenworth Parks and Recreation Department.

He described Yoshino cherry trees as flowering trees.

A monument located in North Esplanade Park was dedicated in 2008 in honor of the sister city relationship.

According to a plaque on the monument, Leavenworth and Omihachiman became sister cities in 1997. But the connection between the communities dates back to 1905. That is when William Merrell Vories, who was from Leavenworth, traveled to Omihachiman as an evangelistic teacher and missionary. He established civic and entrepreneurial organizations in support of his missionary work.

Later this year, a delegation from Omihachiman will be visiting Leavenworth.

Between 20 and 25 people from the Japanese city will be visiting Oct. 12-13, said Kristi Lee, manager of the Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Grant said Arbor Day is celebrated in Kansas each year on the last Friday in April. He said the city organizes a tree planting each year for Arbor Day.

Leavenworth holds the Tree City USA designation. Grant said an Arbor Day observance is included in the criteria for the designation.

Grant said Leavenworth has had the designation for 22 years. City officials have to reapply on an annual basis.

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