Saturday, May 1, 2021

State Employment Office Parking Lot Rehab to Remove Several Trees

The State Department of Administrative Services has filed an application for a parking lot rehabilitation at the Employment Office on Cottage and Union Streets.

The Notice has no narrative with it, so it's not clear why they need to redo the parking lots. (That we apply budget and effort to renewing parking lots is an unfortunate consequence of our autoism.)

But more interesting are all the trees the site plan appears to designate for removal. The main parking lot is on the east side of Cottage, and it has one big tree on the alley designated for removal.

That's a lot of trees marked for removal

The Office itself (pictured here) on the west side has nearly all the trees in the curb strip designated for removal. Some of them must be in the public right of way and be City-owned street trees.

Union Street here is also an important bikeway, and scheduled for upgrades over the next five years. (See the most recent post about a reduction in scope here, and its development and funding have been discussed frequently in posts about the Downtown Mobility Study.) So the mature shade trees are nice for walking and biking.

This will go before the Planning Administrator, not a full Public Hearing, and hopefully the City will scrutinize the need for so much tree-cutting very closely. On the surface it looks a little gratuitous. Some of the trees in the power lines might be the wrong size - but all of them?

These are some of the trees designated for cutting

Kitty-corner is also the former site of the LaFolette Black Walnut, which was cut down, and a mystery vine that is still standing and may have some significance. (And some follow up on the vine. The matter is still unresolved lore.) Most of the trees in question are not that old, but the old school, Garfield, is still here, and there might be some details and traces in the immediate vicinity that are worth more attention before we carelessly cut or excavate.

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