March 23 ē 01:11 AM

Ash borer takes toll at community park

Almost 30 infected trees are removed from Almont park as safety measure

The remains of a pair of diseased ash trees that had to be cut down at Almont Community Park. photo by Tom Wearing.

August 01, 2007
ALMONT — The destructive nature of the emerald ash borer continues to wreak havoc on area trees.

The effects of the burrowing insect could be seen again this week at Almont Community Park, where workers from Owens Tree Service cut down 29 of the infected trees as a safety measure.

Village Manager Gerald Oakes said removal of the trees, ranging in height from 50-70 feet, is unfortunate but necessary to avoid endangering the public.

"These are huge old trees, but they're dying," Oakes lamented. "For safety reasons, we're taking them down. We didn't want a branch coming down and falling on someone."

Oakes estimated the cost of tree removal at $8,000. He said the village has hired Super & Sons Nursery of Imlay City to plant nine new trees on the park grounds at a cost of $2,075. He added that more trees will be planted in the future.

The new trees will include one autumn blaze maple; one Bloodgood sycamore; one crimson king maple; one heritage river birch; one macho cork tree; one autumn blaze oriental pear; and two accolade elms. The ninth tree, a Princeton golden maple, is being donated by Super & Sons.

"Of course, these will be much smaller trees," Oakes said.

Oakes said the park's play area will soon be expanded by 24 feet to the south, making the absence of the removed trees less obvious.

"We've been planning to expand the children's play toy area anyway," said Oakes. "We need to have some play equipment that is more suitable for the real little kids."

While removal of the decades-old trees was understood to be necessary by the dozen or so people enjoying the park's surroundings Wednesday morning, they were generally not pleased.

"I bring my kids up here pretty often to play," said Imlay City resident Elizabeth Rivard, 26, who was accompanied by her four sons, a niece, nephew and sister-in-law. "We come here because it's a nice, clean park and because the kids like it.

"The best things about this park are the water (stream) and all the shade trees," she continued. "Now all the shade is gone."

Park Board chairman Rick Lauwer expressed some surprise at the park's wide-open appearance Thursday morning.

"It really opens everything up," he said. "It's a shame they have to come down, but it's a choice that had to be made."

Almont Community Park was opened in 1976. In recent years, it has become a popular destination for residents and visitors.

The park is the site of weekly Concerts in the Park on Thursdays during the summer months, and the well-attended Kids In The Park series on Mondays.

Staff Writer
Castle Creek
03 - 23 - 19
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