Lehi residents say goodbye to nearly 300 trees after city cites safety concerns
LEHI, Utah — Saying goodbye to the trees was difficult for Lehi resident Kari Burr. Her family has lived in the Olympic Park neighborhood for almost 20 years and enjoyed watching the trees mature and beautify the area.
“Especially in the spring when they’re blossoming and in the fall when the leaves are changing colors,” Burr said. “There’s nothing like it and we’re not going to have that anymore. It’s really, really sad.”
She agrees the sidewalks are unsafe and does not want anyone to get hurt, but she wishes there could be another solution.
“I understand that (the city) doesn’t want the liability but was there another way? I don’t know,” she said.
BJ Benson, the city’s streets department manager, said roots from the 289 flowering pear trees in city-owned park strips lifted sidewalks by 3 or 4 inches in places in the neighborhood.
“There were several tripping hazards. There were complaints from mothers and people pushing strollers, to people riding their bikes, so it’s something that needs to be done,” he said.
Benson said the city council met numerous times about the issue and talked to each homeowner impacted. Ultimately, the city decided removing the trees and their problematic roots was best.
“Their life expectancy is about 20 to 25 years and we’re right at that point, too, and that went into the decision-making,” Benson said.
Tree and stump removal will cost the city around $80,000 and $40,000 to repair concrete. Each household will receive a $200 reimbursement from the city to plant new trees in their yards.
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