Courthouse spruce chopped down

Spruce tree to be chopped, too
By Vicki Hyatt | Apr 03, 2013
Photo by: Vicki Hyatt

The Haywood County Historic Courthouse landscaping will see yet another change this week as county maintenance workers remain the last large tree left on the lawn, and remove the rest of the sugar maples that front Depot Street.

The county commissioners discussed landscaping plans for the property, and several board members noted there had been comments about the large red spruce left standing. They asked Dale Burris, the county facilities and maintenance director, about the issue.

“The more work we do, the more it stands out,” said Burris said of the evergren tree. “Several people have come up to me about asking if it will be removed."

Burris said he replied it wasn’t one of the trees approved for removal. He shared his concerns about the way the tree is leaning and said it would be safer to cut the remaining maples if the red spruce was gone.

“It was not considered to be diseased, so we didn’t discuss it very much,” Swanger said, noting he, too, had received comments from those who noted the evergreen looks out of place now that the other trees are gone.

“As the lawn opened up, it does kind of stick out,” said Commissioner Mike Sorrells.

Christmas lights were strung on the red spruce tree when it was smaller, but now the bottom is so bare, that can’t be done, Sorrells added.

“My experience with evergreen trees by themselves is if they are around homes, insurance companies want them to come down,” said Commissioner Kevin Ensley.

The board unanimously approved a motion to remove the red spruce, and will consider proposals from companies interested in providing new landscaping.

Burris also said there is an issue with the placement of the flagpole, which is supposed to be to the right side of a government building.

Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick asked for a price on relocating the flagpole. The board will consider the action at later meeting once the cost is known.

Burris said the three remaining sugar maple trees would be removed this week, weather permitting. The last remaining step will be to grind the stumps still left above the ground.

In February, the commissioners reviewed the results of a tree health and safety analysis for the trees surrounding the Historic Courthouse. The report was prepared by certified arborist Bill Leatherwood.

The study showed all the maple trees had a medium to high hazard rating, which prompted the board to conclude they needed to be removed.

The county maintenance crew, along with help from Waynesville, and the town of Canton, which provided a chipper, spent several days in March cutting the  trees and preparing them for use as firewood, which was donated to charity.


Comments (1)
Posted by: John Buckley | Apr 03, 2013 10:50

Congratulations, the nicest piece of history in the county, the old courthouse, now looks bereft and ugly without any trees. The idea that the trees were dangerous is ridiculous. Another fine example of how county/city officials blithely waste taxpayer money. Now they want to spend yet more money on new landscaping. Why don't we just pour concrete over the grassy areas and be done with it. Haywood County -- the ugliest place in WNC.

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