HELENA — After a months-long back and forth between the city and residents of Rodney Street, the first of the boulevard trees along Rodney were cut down starting on Monday.
“The sadness that I’m feeling of losing all of these trees is over- It’s, it’s hard,” says Rodney Street resident, Karen Reese.
The city first notified Rodney Street residents of the removal back in December. But residents expressed concerns over the decision to remove the boulevard trees and the short notice given to residents that work was set to begin.
The city had originally planned to remove around a dozen trees, but when a November windstorm brought down trees the city thought were safe, as well as the possibility of construction work damaging root systems, they made the decision to remove the majority of the trees saying they had become a liability.
But the city did pause work to listen to residents’ concerns and seek opinions from multiple arborists about the integrity of the trees.
The city does plan to replace many of the trees that were removed. And has said that they may consider future policies to hopefully avoid future conflict.
“But once they get to us, it just didn’t seem like there might have been enough oversight on the contracting company. Again, the city said they’re going to go forward and take these, what I call, massive errors and go forward maybe to the next project, and hopefully, we won’t see this again on another street,” says Rodney Street resident, Susan Hawthorne.
Despite all this, Reese says she feels like part of her neighborhood has been stripped away.
“I honestly, if I didn’t love my house so much I might put it on, and if housing wasn’t so crazy right now, I may put it on the market and move. I mean, it’s just, it’s changed it that much, that it’s hard to be here now,” says Reese.