About a dozen evergreen trees planted between Third Street and the decommissioned Paonia Water Treatment Plant several years ago were cut down last week to make way for a new water main installation approved in June by the town board of trustees.
The trees, explained town manager Jane Berry, are being removed as a consequence of that water line project. During the Public Works Department report at the June 26 board meeting, Berry, filling in for public works director Travis Loberg, explained that the town did what it could to save the trees. But in the end, the public works department determined they couldn't be saved. "Sadly," said Berry, "they had a purpose for several years, but now they have to go."
In seeking bids to have them moved, the town learned that the nearest company with equipment big enough to properly excavate the trees is located on the Front Range, said Berry. Estimates to move four of the trees was $10,000. In addition, tree experts who consulted with the town examined the trees and determined that they were improperly planted, growing too close together, and were already showing signs of stress and disease. Because they were planted within a few feet of the street, it was determined that they would, pardon the pun, cause safety and other issues down the road. The branches of some of the trees were already stretching out onto the shoulder.
Mayor Pro Tem David Bradford serves on the Public Works committee and said the committee discussed the issue and also recommends removing the trees.