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Work starts on site of Elm St. collapse

Ancient bur oak tree being trimmed, not axed

Staff writer

City workers are closing off a portion of Elm St. as they work to clear debris from the site of a creek bank cave-in on the west side of Elm St. to ready the site for repairs, city administrator Roger Holter said.

Holter plans to meet with representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service this week and settle on final design plans so the city can put the project up for bid.

Heavy rains in late May caused the east side of Luta Creek to collapse. A grant of $219,750 will pay most of the cost of repairs, with the city’s tab coming in at $73,250.

An access road is planned behind the police station to allow access for heavy equipment to reach the site.

Stonework will rebuild the creek bank and stem erosion, Holter said.

Elm St. will be blocked off from time to time for the safety of pedestrians and city

workers as they remove debris and clear the site of tree limbs and trunks.

A majestic bur oak will apparently survive for a second time in its more than a century in Marion.

The tree, thought at one time to be raising the brick on Elm St., was saved from the axe in the early 1980s by a stubborn grass-roots protest led by Marion resident Leta Rees. The uproar prompted city commissioners to reverse an earlier decision to fell it.

The oak is still standing after the creek collapse and is being trimmed back — not taken down, Holter said.

“We have to gain access to the site, so we are getting rid of some of the dead limbs and branches,” he said.

Construction at the site is scheduled to be finished by March 20.

Last modified Jan. 8, 2020

 

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