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Helena leaders to continue pause on planned Rodney St. tree removal

Rodney tree removal notice
Posted at 6:24 PM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-14 21:03:08-05

HELENA — The City of Helena plans further discussion on a plan to cut down trees along Rodney Street.

MTN told you on Tuesday how Rodney St. residents expressed frustration after a large number of boulevard trees were tagged for removal and the work scheduled to start in just days.

During the City Administration meeting, Transportation Systems Director David Knoepke told commissioners that discussion around removing the trees dated back to 2019 when the city made plans to remove some ash trees to diversify the tree species in the city.

The city originally planned to remove dozens of trees along Rodney St but that plan was scaled back to only about 14 boulevard trees that had been deemed unsafe after they suffered damage or were compromised during the water and sewer replacement project.

However, during the windstorm in early November four trees that had not been marked unsafe fell. That prompted the city to reevaluate the trees and determine the remaining trees along Rodney St. also needed to be removed.

The trees removed are the property of the city. At the meeting leaders expressed concerns about the city being liable if trees known to be compromised were not removed in a timely manner and they did fall and cause damage or injury. City commissioners also acknowledged residents concerns with the relatively short notice of the tree removal.

The tree removal work was paused to give the city time to discuss the tree removal.

The city says the trees cut down will be replaced in the spring with a mixture of oak and elm trees.