City to remove problem trees in Linear Park area

local_032813_boxelder-treeOAK PARK HEIGHTS — The city plans to clean out box elder and other diseased trees encroaching on to private property in the Linear Park area after the Oak Park Heights City Council Tuesday accepted a company’s bid to do the work.

City Administrator Eric Johnson and city Arborist Dr. Kathy Widen said diseased, decaying and invasive trees will be removed along 56th Street and Novak Avenue
“There have been several complaints about box trees in the area,” Widen said. “This is an area that seems to have the most problems.”

Widen said residents in the affected area have complained about box elder tree limbs handing into and over backyards, dropping limbs in yards and in one incident last year, a box elder tree near the park’s south boundary falling into a backyard.

“The trees which are on the removal/pruning list are mainly box elders, many with defects and decay or poorly joined trunk unions,” Widen said in a letter sent to residents. “A few of the trees to be removed are dead elms. These trees have a higher risk of dropping limbs or failing at the trunk unions, especially if defects or decay are present.”

Widen added in her letter that trees slated for removal are marked with an orange “X” while limbs to be pruned are marked by an orange dot.

Widen told the council that fast-growing box elder trees “overtop” landscape trees and shrubs and can depress plant growth.

Widen said five companies submitted bids on the job and she recommended the council accept Timberline Tree Service’s low bid of nearly $8,324, pending the company getting a city permit to perform the work.

The project is scheduled to be finished by the end of May, according to Widen. The project is funded in the city’s budget for contracted tree work, Johnson added.
In other actions Tuesday, the council:

  •  Approved an agreement with Ironman Bicycle Ride organizers Hostelling International USA allowing the April 28 ride through the city. Ride organizer John Ridge said more than 2,600 people have registered for the ride, which is being held in Washington County after several years in the Lakeville area.“We’re 1,000 riders ahead of last year. The draw, honestly, is Washington County,” Ridge said.The 46-year-old ride will be based out of the County Fairgrounds in Baytown Township, Ridge said, with riders taking a touring route in the county.
  • Agreed to the city joining the MnWARN program that provides an emergency response plan and mutual aid to water and sewer utilities experiencing manmade or natural disaster emergencies. Public Works Director Andy Kegley said it costs the city nothing to join MnWARN and there is no requirement that MnWARN members must respond to emergency requests. Kegley noted that several neighboring communities are currently MnWARN members. “I think it could be a benefit to Oak Park Heights to join MnWARN,” he said. “It doesn’t cost us anything.”