DAYTON, Tenn.-Dayton officials and MainStreet Dayton personnel are trying to figure out how to deal with overgrown trees in downtown Dayton that have uprooted sidewalks.
At the recent MainStreet Dayton monthly meeting, property owner Jenny Nevans said the MainStreet board needed to remove and replace trees on the corners of Main Street, First Street and Second Street.
"I hate to cut them, but they have to come out," said County Commissioner Ronnie Raper, who attended the meeting at MainStreet Dayton officials' request.
MainStreet Executive Director Anna Tromanhauser said "potential damage is a concern" for property owners and the merchants who rent from them. That damage, she said, outweighed the cost of replacing the landscaping.
Removing the trees is consistent with the downtown revitalization goals of MainStreet Dayton, design committee Chairman Kerry Nabors said.
MainStreet Dayton has received a nearly $1 million courthouse revitalization grant to cover an eight-year period of renovations. In the past two years, the organization has installed new lampposts with updated merchant flags and crosswalk pavers in downtown Dayton.
New park benches and a concrete platform were installed last year in front of the Rhea County Courthouse.
MainStreet Dayton board members recommended that the Dayton City Council handle removal of the overgrown trees. The council's next meeting is April 4, and members will hear the issue at that time, Raper said.
Raper said he'd inform the council members and Dayton officials before getting back with MainStreet Dayton about the trees' removal and the repairs to sidewalks.
Eva Cruver, owner of The General Store, said the tree roots could "put me under" if they continued to grow and became wrapped around waterlines. Her store is on the corner of Market and Second streets, where an overgrown tree has uprooted the sidewalk and a water meter.
Nabors said the design team would evaluate less-invasive trees for placement at the street corners, but that the "removal has to happen quickly" before the annual Strawberry Festival in May.
Members of the local garden club and the Rhea County Historical Society agreed to assist with landscaping design recommendations.
Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at email@example.com.