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Why the iconic trees at Porter Park were cut down

For the last 90 years, cutleaf weeping birch trees stood tall along a popular side of Porter Park in Rexburg.

Today, those trees are no longer there, and all that remains are the stumps.

“There’s been a little of a perception that Mayor Merrill has a war on trees in Rexburg because we’ve taken down trees on different streets and things but it’s all part of a larger plan to replace trees with trees that are more fitting with the place they’re at,” said Rexburg Mayor, Jerry Merrill.

Merrill says for the last ten years the iconic cutleaf weeping birch trees were dying out and reaching their average lifespan of 80-90 years. So the city decided to take them out and start over to make them better for the future.

“There’s a safety factor, once trees get to a certain age, the branches can get brittle, and we’ve actually had a big branch fall off of one of the trees on the other side of the park, so it can get kind of dangerous, so we have to assess the health of them and at some point they need to be replaced,” Merrill said.

22 trees will be replaced costing about $1,000 each. The city is hoping the public will help with donations or adopting a tree.

“Some of them will be replaced with the same kind, just kind of hearkening back to the history to the trees here in the park, but we’re also going to use some other varieties to give us a little of variety of look and color and things like that,” Merrill said.

The city is looking to find trees to plant that are medium to large, so they have a better chance of surviving. As for the stumps, those will soon be taken out and replaced with tree rings, holding the place for the new trees that will arrive in the spring.

Merrill says, “We’re hoping to plant the new ones here on arbor day next year.”

To donate to the project, visit city hall in Rexburg.

News Team

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