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Residents will get trees back

They might not be the big, shady trees that were once in place in the Walnut Street neighborhood, but later this summer, the trees that were pulled down for the road's reconstruction will be replaced.

The Farmington City Council has authorized the replacement of trees not only along Walnut Street - which falls in line with the city's tree replacement policy - but also along the side streets in the reconstruction route.

When the Walnut Street reconstruction project began this spring, many of the trees in the neighborhood were taken down because, in most cases, root systems extended into the project area. As the ground was torn up, the root balls would have been damaged and many of the trees would have likely died. Still, residents were not pleased. For some, the shade trees were as much a part of their neighborhood as the neighbors themselves.

The city of Farmington has a tree replacement policy on the books that guarantees trees will be replaced along main residential routes, like Walnut Street, but not the side streets. The neighbors took exception.

After a workshop last week, city council members authorized Farmington engineer Kevin Schorzman to replace the side street trees. Doing so will add another 39 trees to the upcoming inventory, which will cost about $6,500, Schorzman said.

As the reconstruction project progresses, city staff will contact each of the homeowners in the neighborhood to find out what kind of tree they would like - maple or linden. There's no guarantee they'll get the tree they asked for, but at least residents will be asked for input.

A problem could come up if a group of neighbors wanted to have the same type of trees in an area, Schorzman said. If maple borer or linden borer infested one tree, it would be easy enough for the disease to spread from tree to tree and soon kill all of them. Switching up the types of trees would help to eliminate such risks.

"We're reserving the right to mix them up. Hopefully people will want different things so we'll just get that mix naturally," Schorzman said.

Though the trees are an added expenditure, the purchase will not affect the project's final cost. Every reconstruction has a 10 percent "contingency fund" built in to pay for extras that come along, Schorzman said. The extra funding needed for these trees will come from that fund.

Still, it will be a few weeks before the new trees are planted. According to Schorzman, the trees will be added during the boulevard reconstruction phase of the project, which is still several weeks off. He can't guarantee the trees will be in the same location as the old ones, either. Things like where utility lines and service locations are have to be considered in the placement.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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