published Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Jasper, Tenn., to opt for tree trimming, not removal

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    Trees around Jasper, Tenn.'s courthouse square. Photo by Ryan Lewis
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JASPER, Tenn. — City leaders are going to try trimming the problematic Chinese ginkgo trees around Jasper’s courthouse square before they consider more drastic action.

In June, local businessman Jimmy Sneed said he was renovating the old Vance Furniture building, and two of the trees were causing a problem by blocking a 15-foot sign that will be installed and damaging the sidewalk. Some members of the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen said it might be better to just remove all the trees around the square to protect the sidewalks and curbs and avoid a future headache.

Mayor Paul Evans said he had looked extensively for someone who knew how to trim the trees, which are growing into the facades of some other businesses, but had no luck.

“We’re looking at tearing the sidewalk up and everything else if we keep these trees,” Looney said last month. “To me, the city is going to be saving money [by removing them]. I think we need to look at it long term.”

Evans announced recently that he had finally found a qualified tree trimmer who is willing to cut back all 30 trees for a total cost of $150.

The trees definitely need to be trimmed, Alderman Leon Rash said, and the price for that was “more than reasonable.”

“We’ve had a lot of [residents] call,” Evans said. “Some said do what we can to trim them, and some said if they need to go, they need to go. You’ve just got to cut those lower limbs off and get the trees up above the merchants’ windows.”

Sneed’s workers already have trimmed the trees in front of his building so they could work on the front wall, officials said, but at least one of those trees still may need to be removed completely.

“I don’t think we can go wrong right there,” Evans said. “I think it’s is a good deal for us. I think [the tree trimmer] is doing us a favor.”

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com

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