While the fate of the stately willow oak in North Side tagged by the city for removal remains murky, two local residents have swung into action with offers to pay the cost to save the tree. Rex Springsteen at the Times-Dispatch has more:
Two Richmonders are willing to pay the cost of bolstering a big willow oak in North Side that the city recently marked for removal.
One of the residents, veterinarian Kim Kuhn, lives beside the tree in the 3900 block of Seminary Avenue in Ginter Park.
Kuhn said two members of the city’s urban-forestry staff told her Monday that the oak would be cut unless she paid an expert to bolster it with cables.
The 85-foot-tall tree has a crack between a fork about 20 feet above the ground. City officials say one side of the tree could fall and hurt someone, exposing the city to a lawsuit.
Kuhn said she is happy to have the chance to fix the tree at her expense. Still, she said, that would set a bad precedent — residents paying for work the city should be doing.
“There needs to be a plan for preserving our green infrastructure instead of cutting it down one tree at a time,” Kuhn said.
Some residents have long contended that the city is too quick to cut valuable trees after marking them as hazards. Kuhn is stepping into the battle for the first time.
In late October, city workers painted an orange X on the oak and posted a sign on it reading, “This tree is scheduled to be removed.” Someone has since removed the sign.
City spokesmen say no decision has been made on whether to cut the tree.