Felled trees may not be replaced
City has money for new park trees but won’t consider them until bathrooms are settled
Marion trees are being lost to storms and to efforts to protect power lines and prevent future storm damage, and the city has no plans to replace them.
City Administrator Doug Kjellin said the city budgets for tree and shrub replacement on city property but does not provide assistance in replacing trees on private property that are lost to storms or entanglement with city utility lines.
Christian Pedersen, supervisor of the city electric department, said his department removed problem trees based on city and customer judgment.
“I’m not sure why, but for the last few years it seems like we have been removing more trees than usual,” he said. “We think it’s mostly due to drought and disease. There are also rumors of a beetle attacking elms, but we haven’t seen them in the trees we’re removing.”
Most of the trees removed have been large elms, he said.
“What we’re trying to do is remove problems before they happen,” he said. “Large branches can fall on streets at any time and whole dead trees can come crashing down if they have a little push.”
Friday’s storm with high winds knocked down enough limbs to keep city crews in cleanup mode for a week, Pedersen said.
“Mother Nature did a lot of tree trimming for us,” he said. “Now we know where more problem areas are.”
Last week a 50-foot oak fell in the park.
City Councilman Todd Heitschmidt said the Park Board would decide whether to replace the tree, but a meeting date will not be set until the question of where to locate park restrooms is resolved.
“In all likelihood we will mostly likely replace the tree,” he said.