Evergeen Trees Temporarily Fill Gaps Left by Ash Trees in Fergus Falls
The city plans to install lilac trees permanently in the spots this spring
FERGUS FALLS, Minn. — Three months after ash trees were removed from the city’s streets, new evergreens are filling the voids in Fergus Falls.
Concerns over the spread of emerald ash borer and haphazard sidewalk conditions caused Fergus Falls officials to uproot the trees.
“We heard a lot of comments about what happened downtown. People knew something was missing but I don’t think a lot of people put it together that it was the trees that were actually removed. It did look like kind of a ghost town,” said Shawna Shale, the Business Manager at Cooper’s Office Supply in Fergus Falls.
Some felt nostalgic after the trees were removed.
“It was real empty and as one who watched those first trees being planted and then for a variety of reasons they had to be removed, that was a bit of sadness for me,” said Sue Wilken, the Vice President of the Downtown Riverfront Council.
Even though the city plans to plant new trees in those spots this spring, twenty volunteers elected to fill the gaps with some leafy giants.
Only these trees didn’t come from the store.
“I call them wild trees, trees that came out from the middle of the forest. So these trees are natural in the way they just grow in the woods,” Wilken said.
But bringing them to Fergus Falls, though temporarily, looks to give the city some additional character.
“As you look around Fergus Falls, you’ll see that there are trees everywhere, except downtown and so bringing trees downtown expands this whole identity of the city. Any time you add beauty to your downtown area, it’s going to have a positive impact,” said Wilken.
Some business leaders see the benefits of having new trees in the area, especially around the holiday season.
“One thing that Christmas makes you feel like doing is shopping. I just think that the trees give off a really good vibe and it feels good, and I don’t know one person who doesn’t like a Christmas tree,” said Shale.
Once the new lilac trees are planted this spring, several say the look of downtown is headed in the right direction.
“It’s really great to see the city focusing on the positives and making the most of every situation,” said Wilken.
The evergreens will line the streets as several holiday events are coming up this month, including the Over the River Holiday Festival this Saturday.