City Leaders Remove Ash Trees from Sidewalks in Downtown Fergus Falls
The fear of emerald ash borer and potential for tripping hazards led to the uprooting of the trees
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Union Avenue is one of the busiest roads in downtown Fergus Falls, but alongside the traffic are several small boxes on the sidewalk filled with dirt.
“The plan started back in 2012 to remove the trees due to a few factors: The emerald ash borer being one. We know that’s migrating across the state, so we wanted to get ahead of that,” said Len Taylor, the Public Works Director for Fergus Falls.
More noticeably, the roots of the trees started to grow beyond the concrete pavers, and began bursting through the sidewalks.
“The root systems had been pushing up on pavers throughout the downtown area, and it created a walking hazard for various folks,” said Amy Baldwin, the Community Development Director for Fergus Falls.
With the roots growing out of control, city leaders decided it was time to remove the trees on Labor Day.
Taylor says the trees were uprooted then since most businesses were closed that day.
Just days after the tree removal, the city of Fergus Falls wants community input to see what types of trees can fill these voids downtown.
“We’ve got four varieties we’ve identified that would be a good fit long term for downtown, so we’re going to have the public help us select,” said Mayor Ben Schierer of Fergus Falls.
People can go on Facebook to voice their opinion to see what types of trees city leaders should consider.
Since trees serve as a prominent factor in downtown Fergus Falls, Mayor Schierer says the new trees can be a big part of how the city moves forward.
“We’re going to make sure we bring those back, but the beauty of downtown Fergus Falls is something that’s second to none, so we’re going to make sure to put the right trees that are going to last for future generations,” said Schierer.
City officials say their goal is to have some of the new trees planted this fall, with all of the voids filled up by next spring.