Rodney Street trees update

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Posted at 8:28 AM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 10:28:57-05

HELENA — The City of Helena hosted a public meeting on Thursday evening in order to address the boulevard trees along Rodney Street.

“I love it because of the history. I love it because of its locality. But I love Rodney Street because of the trees. And now, I'll never have that ever again,” says Rodney Street resident, Karen Reese.

The trees, located between 9th and Helena Avenue, were originally slated for removal on December 14-17. But the city’s plans were halted due to concerns by area residents.

The city says the trees could be compromised or unstable as a result of construction along Rodney and could be dangerous.

“And so, it becomes a public health and safety issue. And we would certainly like to be in front of that before anybody gets hurt,” says Interim City Manager Tim Burton.

The meeting on Thursday evening allowed the city to detail its reasons behind the tree removal and outline plans to replace the trees. It also gave citizens a chance to voice their concerns and criticisms.

Folks brought up getting a second opinion from another arborist. And brought up concerns that this might set a precedent for other streets, allowing for mass tree removals throughout the city.

“I'm a little concerned that it won't make any difference, that they're, they've already made up their mind, and it's going to happen at some point. But I really hope, if that's the case, I really hope that future projects will be better managed,” says Reese.

“And not every situation is the same. But not having said that, I'm sure we can learn some lessons from the Rodney Street project moving forward,” says Burton.

Ultimately, no decision was reached. The city says another meeting will be held in a couple of weeks.