Following an announcement from Helena’s Transportation Systems Department that all ash trees along the stretch of Rodney Street the city is upgrading, some more than 100 years old, would be removed Wednesday, complaints from neighborhood residents led the city to temporarily stall the project.
The city is making infrastructure improvements on Rodney Street, including new water mains, sewer mains, curbs, gutters and streetlights, a phased project that began in 2020.
City Arborist Chris Daly was brought in to assess the health of the city-owned boulevard trees and initially recommended the removal of 80 trees along the project corridor due to the poor health of the trees and looming threat of an emerald ash borer infestation.
Public meetings regarding the project were conducted throughout 2019 and 2020, and Transportation Systems Director David Knoepke said a common concern among attendees was the removal of trees.
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Daly marked 14 trees for immediate removal due to poor health and a likelihood of structural failure.
When an early November wind storm toppled four trees in the project area that were not marked for removal as part of the reassessment, it was