The removal of dozens of damaged trees in Olde Town began Monday, and some residents were happy to see it.
“It seems like every storm we had, there were trees falling,” Olde Town Neighborhood Association President Rick Keuroglian said.
About 60 trees along Broad Street in Olde Town were marked with a large white X’s late last year for removal after being identified as rotting or having weak limbs that could cause property damage.
For the most part, Keuroglian said, residents are satisfied with the decision to remove the trees; however, some have brought up concerns that the wrong trees are being cut down, he said.
Since the trees were marked several months ago, storms have blown down rotting trees that had been overlooked, Keuroglian said. Then again, there are trees that were marked as being dangerous that appeared healthy when crews cut into them.
Keuroglian said some residents feel the large X’s are unattractive and have encouraged graffiti in the historic neighborhood. Sam Simpkins, of the Augusta Tree Commission, said he did not know how long removing the trees will take.
One issue that has been addressed is replacing the trees. After the marking, some residents approached city leaders after learning there was no replacement process.
“It caused a major uproar,” Keuroglian said.
After resources were identified that would assist with the replacement, members of Olde Town and crews from Parks and Recreation began replanting.
So far, about 40 trees have been replanted. Simpkins estimates the cost around $500 per tree.
“They probably won’t be planting any more this year,” Simpkins said. “It’s getting too late to plant but we’ll plant some more next fall.”