By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Before the new City Park building goes up, some of the trees in the park will need to come down.
But special effort is being made to save as many of the bigger trees that have been there for decades, and the smaller trees that were planted there as memorials by families.
Later this summer, the aging Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building and Depot building will be demolished to make room for one new building near the entrance of City Park.
As plans were discussed last year about the new building, residents were assured that efforts would be made to save as many trees as possible at the building site.
Park and Recreation Department Director Kristin Otley noted at the last park board meeting that many of the memorial trees at the site can be saved.
Of the six memorial trees, five will be moved to other locations in City Park.
“That is fantastic,” she said. “We are going to be able to move almost all of them to places in City Park.”
The trees will be transplanted later this winter or in early spring, when the ground is frozen and the trees are dormant. The memorial markers will be moved with the trees.
“There are some locations where we actually need trees” in the park, Otley said. “The fact that we can move those to even a better spot in the park where we need them is pretty great.”
The Parks and Recreation Department has reached out to the families who had the trees planted in memory of loved ones to make them aware of the plans.
City Arborist Grant Jones said the memorial trees being transplanted are healthy oak, beech and maple. The largest is seven inches in diameter.
“They are trees that are still small enough to survive if put someplace else,” Jones said. “They will stay there in City Park.”
Those transplanted trees will get more water and care for the next couple summers. “They will need a little extra T.L.C.,” he said.
There will, however, be a few larger trees in City Park that will likely need to come down for the new building. According to Jones, it looks like two large maples and two large oaks will need to be removed.
“They are too big to try to move,” he said. “There are also some other small to medium sized trees in the project footprint that will likely be removed.”
The city is working with the building planners to keep as many trees as possible. And more landscaping will be added to the area once the new building is in place, Otley said.