A large group of trees that provided shade to parents and student athletes at Kickemuit Middle School were chopped down. Some local residents wanted an answer why.
A video taken recently by a local resident showed a line of around eight trees that had been cut down along the fence line of the soccer field at Kickemuit Middle School.
The man on the video lamented that his daughter said those trees were often used by athletes and parents during games and practices to keep out of the sun, and was wondering what the reasoning behind their removal was.
The answer, simply enough, was a safety issue.
“The tree warden took a look at those numerous times over the past couple years and determined they’re quite dangerous,” said DPW Director Brian Wheeler. “Parts of them keep coming down…it seems every wind storm we’re picking up large pieces. So in order to not have it fall when people are on the field, we decided at the end of the day we have to make sure everybody’s safe.”
Wheeler said that the tree warden agreed the trees had reached an age where they became hazardous, and that the plan would be to replace the trees hopefully as early as this spring — although Wheeler made sure to caution there was no specifically determined timeline yet for their replacement.
“We’re kind of shopping around,” he said, indicating it was too early to tell how big the trees would be or when they would reach a similar maturity to the ones cut down. “We’re trying to get biggest trees we can afford to get in there to expedite the process.”
Wheeler said the town was hopeful to not have to remove the entirety of all the trees, but, “It was too dangerous, even just when our guys were there,” he said. “Portions of the branches were falling when our guys were taking down other branches on the other trees.”
Wheeler said he understood the urgency from those who were sad to see the trees gone.
“Those trees were there for shade. Parents went there and used them to watch their kids play sports, so we want something to get established and start growing,” he said. “Our plan is to put something sturdier with a larger shade cover.”