The City of Kenosha currently plans to take down a 90-year-old tree near the corner of 79th Street and 17th Avenue in order to reconstruct sidewalks. That has upset some residents of the neighborhood.
The tree sits right outside of David Wick’s home, where he has lived for 31 years. He and many of his neighbors were upset when they heard the city may have to tear the tree down to repair the sidewalk.
“Almost everybody loves this tree,” Wick said. “It’s been there for forever.”
Brian Cater, Kenosha’s deputy director of public works, said the sidewalk replacement program is complaint-based, and the city has received multiple complaints about this sidewalk for years.
“We have to replace the sidewalk because it’s a public safety concern,” Cater said.
Projects in the sidewalk replacement program are planned four years in advance and the city is now in the process of starting the project on 79th Street. The city forester inspects trees that will be impacted by sidewalk and street replacements, Cater said. The forester determined that this tree would likely not survive the stress of a sidewalk replacement.
People are also reading…
When the city plants trees today, it plants them so that roots will grow vertically rather than horizontally. When this tree was planted decades ago, the city did not have this ordinance in place, Cater said.
“It’s outgrown the space where it should be,” he said.
Most of the time, residents do not have complaints with the city cutting down trees for sidewalk or street construction, Cater said. The city also offers replanting services, which many residents use.
The city only removes trees when it is necessary, Cater said.
Kenosha has been designated as part of the Tree City USA program for 40 years. The program provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and grow their tree cover. The city must meet certain requirements to maintain this status.
“On average, we’re typically planting as many trees as we’re removing,” Cater said.
Wick said he has contacted his alderperson about the tree, inquiring about what could be done to save it. However, while Wick said it is disappointing that the historic tree will probably come down, but he understands the city’s reasoning.
“I realize, if it happens, it happens. It comes down,” Wick said. “I just want to be able to say I tried to save it.”
Subscribe to our Daily Headlines newsletter.