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Archive for Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crews begin work to remove trees from Watson Park near downtown

Workers with Wright Tree Service remove a row of trees on the west side of Kentucky Street at Watson Park. The trees were scheduled for removal to prevent interference with power lines that run along the outside of the park.

Workers with Wright Tree Service remove a row of trees on the west side of Kentucky Street at Watson Park. The trees were scheduled for removal to prevent interference with power lines that run along the outside of the park.

January 19, 2010

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Watson Park trees trimmed

Crews hired by Westar Energy cut down seven large trees along the eastern edge of Buford M. Watson Jr. Park, clearing the way for the planting of new trees. Enlarge video

City trees trimmed to preserve power

City crews were working Tuesday to cut down trees around Watson Park. The project will help ensure power lines are not damaged by overhanging branches. Enlarge video

City commissioners voice concerns on cutting

City commissioners now want to talk more about ways to avoid cutting down trees in Watson Park.

Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday evening directed the city manager to immediately ask Westar Energy to delay any further cutting operations in the park. Crews contracted by Westar were expected to resume cutting operations this morning.

City Manager David Corliss said he would make the request, but told commissioners he had no legal authority to stop Westar from continuing with the tree cutting. All the trees being cut are in Westar’s utility right-of-way.

The city previously had discussed the possibility of Westar burying the power line so trees would not have to be cut, but the cost of that project was estimated at $1 million, Corliss said.

Crews hired by Westar Energy cut down several large trees Tuesday along the eastern edge of Buford M. Watson Jr. Park, clearing portions of a picturesque backdrop for family picnics, wedding celebrations and simple walks through a long-established urban open space.

To make up for the loss, city officials promise to plant ornamental trees in their place, ones expected to be more colorful, more appropriately sized and — perhaps most critical — far less threatening to the power supply for downtown Lawrence and elsewhere.

“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars putting in and maintaining trees every year,” said Mark Hecker, the city’s superintendent for parks and maintenance. “Sometimes trees are just in the wrong place. You have to decide: Do you want power every time you flip the switch on, or do you want a tree?”

Cynthia McClure, who lives across Kentucky Street from the park’s stationary No. 1073 train locomotive, watched from her porch as the crews reduced trees to logs and woodchips.

“It just doesn’t seem reasonable to cut down these trees, just for this,” McClure said. “It’s not like these trees are going to grow back.”

But the existing ash trees had grown too tall and too close to a circuit that runs into the central business district from a Westar substation at Sixth and Kentucky streets, Hecker said. The proximity of branches had left the circuit susceptible to damage during ice storms or especially windy conditions.

Simple trimming didn’t make sense, as the trees were considered too diseased, damaged or otherwise unlikely to survive necessary cuts, he said.

“In some cases it’s best just best to remove the trees and come back with something better,” Hecker said, noting that flowering crabapples, redbuds and flowering cherry trees would be likely candidates to replace them.

Crews from Wright Tree Service also will be trimming — but not removing — trees along the north side of Seventh Street, between Kentucky and Tennessee, Hecker said. Trimming and removal work will continue on Seventh to as far west as Mississippi Street.

Comments

ks_hotrodder 4 years, 2 months ago

Next time this becomes a problem everyone on here who complains should get off their butts and hand dig the ditch to bury the cable! This would save so much money. Then we would only have to hear you complain about your backs!

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

"...estimated the average cost of burying power lines at $1 million per mile. That is the starting at the cheap end of the cost spectrum."

$1 million per mile can't be both the average cost and the low cost.

We're talking about Lawrence, not a major city. There are no subway tunnels to miss, no skyscrapers to go around, nothing like that. Do a little horizontal boring, push the cable through (maybe in some plastic conduit), and you're done. Maintenance drops to nearly zero, and there's no danger from trees, cars, or squirrels. I'd like to see how someone comes up with $1 million per mile. Maybe if they have to buy ROW first....

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kansanbygrace 4 years, 2 months ago

Ash trees are very good trees, healthy and durable. The wood is excellent for furniture, cabinets, etc. I hope the trunks are milled. Their value would defray a very large portion of the cost of the work.

Yeah, they get big. The trees and power lines were planted too close together. That's a completely avoidable mistake.

With a modicum of foresight, planting might be planned so as to fit the tree to the space and avoid conflict. Although redbuds and flowering crabs and fruitless pears (as well as those nauseating BO trees they stuck along Massachusetts St.) are pretty in their season, they are very brittle, offer little shade, and have no shelter value.

A planned cultivation of varied hardwoods, ash, hickory, oak and maple could be interspersed with some cute little flowery varieties and make a very beautiful park.

The State is now giving trees away. We could take advantage of that

But then again, this IS Lawrence. We have traditions to uphold.......

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jumpin_catfish 4 years, 2 months ago

Aren't trees a renewable resource? Plant some more, problem solved. Now let's trim that healthcare debacle that Obama sprouted.

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M. Lindeman 4 years, 2 months ago

George_Braziller (Anonymous) says…

I would never let Wright touch any of my trees even if the weren't near a power line. They don't trim or prune. They hack. When they're done the trees look like they've had a Joan Rivers facelift performed by Freddy Krueger.

rdragon writes:

Now that was pretty witty, I needed a good chuckle.

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knayte 4 years, 2 months ago

People on this website like to complain a lot.

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budwhysir 4 years, 2 months ago

I would say that at some time, those trees where not even noticed. Its amazing how we become so protective of things that are around when we take over an area.Progress is everywhere, wake up America. The reason they didnt bury the power lines was because when they put up the lines, someone was complaining about digging up the ground and how awful it is to tear up that beautiful grass that was growing. Those people have long since moved away so now we have new neighbors complaining about cutting down trees

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Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months ago

I say plant low low maintenance pin oaks and maples. They are much stronger. Add a few evergreen pine trees that grow tall as well. This would make a nice blend.

Pin Oaks make fine shade trees with powerful trunks.

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George_Braziller 4 years, 2 months ago

I would never let Wright touch any of my trees even if the weren't near a power line. They don't trim or prune. They hack. When they're done the trees look like they've had a Joan Rivers facelift performed by Freddy Krueger.

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Orwell 4 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, screw the trees. We need more power, and we want it dirt cheap so we can demand even more. Westar has to destroy the park because we all remember how many times people have lost power because of healthy, growing trees.

Wait… what?

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couranna1 4 years, 2 months ago

thank gawd my city does not suck like lawrence

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topekan7 4 years, 2 months ago

A 2006 study from the Edison Electric Institute, an association of private power companies, estimated the average cost of burying power lines at $1 million per mile. That is the starting at the cheap end of the cost spectrum. Burying power lines costs 10-15 times what it costs to string them from poles. Are you willing to see your power rates skyrocket to save a few trees for aesthetic purposes? Or risk a major power outage during an ice storm when the trees will most likely be damaged anyway? Let Wright's do their job. And for homeowners who complain of the work that Wright's does on their property there is a simple solution: Pay an arborist to trim the trees yourselves…the way you want them done. If they are your trees…take responsibility and trim them. Otherwise, step aside!

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Thing 4 years, 2 months ago

quimby, San Fransisco is to the west. Adios!

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Thing 4 years, 2 months ago

Well gccs14r, why didn't you offer to fund it?

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pagano 4 years, 2 months ago

Reagan said it best in '66 : “You know, a tree is a tree. How many more do you need to look at?”

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jimincountry 4 years, 2 months ago

We have met the idiots and it's LJW tree hugger posters.

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Kat Christian 4 years, 2 months ago

Oh that's economical to take out the whole tree and replace them only to cut them down in 5 years. If Westar gets a hold of a tree there is literally nothing left. They aren't even experience tree cutters - just worker doing a job and they could care less what shape the tree is left in.

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Jock Navels 4 years, 2 months ago

you folks that can't go 48 hours without somebody else supplying you with power to run your little conveniences make me puke. what a weak whiney pissy crowd you are.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 2 months ago

There is one area of town where the owners had agreed to allow KPL, now Westar to remove trees, Wright's had the owners sign the contract, and nothing happened. There is so much in consistency in the program. Owners agreed to have trees removed in the right of way, not even the owners property. Will they ever come back? Don't be surprised if the next ice storm leaves the Cave without power.

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inklines 4 years, 2 months ago

A year or so ago I went to Joplin to pick my son up from college. It was just after a really bad ice storm had hit their area. By the time I was within five miles of the city I could see that nearly every tree had damage, some of it severe. Both Webb City and Joplin were suffering from major power outages all over their respective cities. My son's dorm had been without power for over 48 hours. One thing that stood out was that the regional power company had not trimmed the trees away from the power lines and they were down all over the place. I used to think, like many of the people posting here, that it was terrible what Westar was doing to the trees. I am thanking them now.

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quimby 4 years, 2 months ago

totally agree w/ pogo. sometimes i hate living here - lawrence and the midwest, in general. w/ every decision like this, it makes me want to move somewhere that values the same things i do.

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Pogo 4 years, 2 months ago

This action is yet another example of the stupidity that exists within the hallowed circles of Lawrence, Kansas decision making.......it's a closed group filled with closed minded, arrogant, myopic dummies.

Disgusting. The removal of the old trees did not need to happen. So what if even semi annual trimming would have been necessary? Small price to pay for wonderful trees.

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OonlyBonly 4 years, 2 months ago

Okay all you complainers consider this. You ever had your power off for over 12 hours in the middle of winter during an ice storm simply because a neighbor failed to trim their trees away from power lines. Now consider if that (which it did) took out power to about a dozen houses or to all of downtown. Trees grow back - plain and simple

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Bladerunner 4 years, 2 months ago

If they had posted this story a day earlier there would have been a half dozen of you huggers out there in the trees trying to stop them. Ha. Choose a tree over constant electricity? Tell that to your neighbor with an oxegen machine. Selfishness!

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Danimal 4 years, 2 months ago

Boy, good thing we got those trees out of the way. We need more parking near downtown, they should just pave the park and be done with it. No one goes outside anymore anyway.

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lllwll 4 years, 2 months ago

Hundreds of thousands of dollars putting in and maintaining trees every year. Did you all miss that? Plant a tree and rip off the property owners in taxes. This city makes me sick.

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macon47 4 years, 2 months ago

why didnt the grass roots liberal tree huggers pony up some real money to pay the city to bury the lines?

oops, i forgot, they are cheap and want everyone else to pay for thier pet projects never mind

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conservative 4 years, 2 months ago

Because the buried lines still need to run between the transformers and have to follow the utility right of ways.

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

"...they would still have cut down the trees because the lines would have had to be buried where the trees were."

Why? A power line doesn't have to follow a curb line, nor does it have to be buried using a trench.

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just_a_small_leaf 4 years, 2 months ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says… "As wonderful as trees are it not like Westar is killing someones mother."

Hey, speak for yourself! >:-(

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conservative 4 years, 2 months ago

There was discussion of burying the lines but the cost was high and they would still have cut down the trees because the lines would have had to be buried where the trees were.

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1029 4 years, 2 months ago

They should just get rid of the park altogether and build something totally awesome like a Cheesecake Factory. Parks and trees are so 1950s. Are we civilized people or creatures of the wilderness? Trees may have been cool in more primitive times, but this is 2010. We need to let companies like Westar do whatever they say they need to do and not complain or ask questions.

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gccs14r 4 years, 2 months ago

They should have buried the power line rather than remove the trees.

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somedude20 4 years, 2 months ago

I hope they turn those trees into cinnamon toothpicks

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 2 months ago

As wonderful as trees are it not like Westar is killing someones mother. We need to keep this in perspective.

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ralphralph 4 years, 2 months ago

Do I want power every time I flip the switch or do I want a tree? I want a tree!

This is so totally stupid.

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BlackVelvet 4 years, 2 months ago

I have no faith left in this city to do what's right...or is that WRIGHT? as in Wright Tree Butchers!!

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