Pinckney Neighborhood residents are stepping up their efforts to save several old oak trees that may be cut down as part of Lawrence Memorial Hospital's expansion project.
Steve Braswell, president of the Pinckney Neighborhood Association, said residents have become increasingly concerned about the fate of oak trees - estimated to be about 50 years old - near the northwest corner of Fourth and Maine streets.
Hospital leaders have said the trees - and perhaps several others on the west side of Maine Street in front of the hospital - may have to be removed as part of a project to install a new power line to serve the hospital's $40 million expansion.
Hospital and neighborhood leaders are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium at LMH, 325 Maine, to discuss ways to save the trees. The meeting is open to the public. City commissioners also are scheduled to discuss the issue at their 6:35 p.m. meeting Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets
Braswell said neighbors would like the hospital to give more consideration to burying the power lines.
"It is a nice-looking stretch of street right now," Braswell said. "I would hate to see major changes to it."
Janice Early-Weas, LMH director of community relations, said the hospital was willing to look at alternatives, but said previous cost estimates of $500,000 to bury the line might make that option difficult for the hospital.
"We believe it is in the best interest of the community to use our resources for patient care," Early-Weas said. "We'll look at alternatives, but it looks like there are some pretty significant costs associated with the alternatives."
The hospital expansion will include a new emergency department, new surgery suites, additional birthing rooms, an improved intensive care unit and the conversion of semiprivate patient rooms to private rooms.