Debate continues over Westwood Avenue trees

Apr 27, 2012

A dispute about the removal of several old trees from a “leafy” Southwest Columbia neighborhood may be a step closer to a resolution.

City of Columbia arborist, Chad Herwald suggests three of the eight trees in the Westwood Ave. neighborhood should be removed because of health issues with the trees and impact on the sidewalks.

The trees had originally been marked for removal with orange X’s on April 12, but residents in the neighborhood petitioned to save them. Residents asked the city to consider alternatives and Herwald says it is something that the city is looking into.

“The engineers from public works will gather information on alternatives for the trees that we’re gonna try to work around,” Herwald said.

MU English professor and Westwood resident, Frances Dickey says that no one in the neighborhood had any idea the trees were being removed until the orange X’s appeared on the trees. She says she believes that there are other alternatives to be taken into consideration in order to save all of the trees. But resident Hank Ottinger somewhat disagrees.

“That section of Westwood we’re talking about really needs significant sidewalk repair and curbs, and actually needs some paving as well,” Ottinger said.

After the removal of the three trees, depending on how much money is left over in the budget, trees will be replanted in their place. The fate of the other five trees is still to be decided.