Tree removal on Moorhead’s Center Avenue begins Tuesday – InForum

MOORHEAD – Moorhead will remove trees along Center Avenue beginning Tuesday, April 5, in preparation for a reconstruction project.

On Monday, city workers will mark trees for removal between Fourth and Eighth Streets, Moorhead town officials said in a news release Friday. There should be minimal traffic delays when the removal begins on Tuesday, the city said.

The removal is part of preparations for reconstruction work for the $5.6 million Center Avenue project, the statement said.

The improvements

will add on-street parking, widened sidewalks, a bike path separated from the avenue, public gathering spaces, landscaped buffer zones and new street lighting, according to the Forum report.

Center Avenue has been called an “iconic road” for Moorhead, and improvements to the road will make it a “jewel” of downtown streets, city officials said.

The city conducted a study in 2013 of several corridors, including Center Avenue. A 2017-2018 study reassessed the alternatives. The city held several open houses and public meetings about the project, including talks about the trees.

The city council decided on the design they wanted in 2018, but continued to gather feedback. The project was postponed to this year and final plans were approved last month.

Tendering for the reconstruction project is set to open on April 6, with the city tentatively awarding the final bid on April 11. Construction could begin in May and end in September.

The city will remove 35 trees along Center Avenue and about two dozen will be replaced, City Forester Trent Wise said. About two dozen trees to be felled are mature.

“City Forestry has assessed trees along Center Ave with the goal of retaining as many trees as possible,” the statement said.

The city based its decision on which trees to remove on roadway and sidewalk improvements, as well as disease susceptibility, the statement said. Several trees have been in decline for several years, while 29 are susceptible to the emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees.

The emerald ash borer has not been found in Moorhead or North Dakota, but authorities have insisted the pest is headed for the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Officials also cited a lack of soil volume available for the growth of some trees. This caused accessibility issues for pedestrians and accelerated tree decline, the city said. Storms could also knock down trees, causing road outages, the city said.

The new trees will vary in species and were picked to “thrive in a downtown environment,” the statement said. The city will provide enough planting space for “healthy tree growth,” the statement said.

Some new varieties will include honey locust, basswood, Kentucky coffee, and trees resistant to Dutch elm disease.

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