Sue – After carefully reading the two reports on the problems of the subject trees, absorbing information from various town residents and talking with one of the High Country’s best landscaping professionals the following conclusions have emerged:1. We now face a crisis that could have been avoided in one of our biggest attractions. Appropriate professional attention as recommended to the Town repeatedly over the years by BRAAC would have assured healthy, attractive park trees instead of the virtual clear cut that has been recommended.
2. The Town needs to retain an experienced professional landscape architect to immediately develop a new design for Memorial Park that will provide an attractive and functional park to meet present and future demands. This plan will include specific recommended trees and other plants. This professional will develop a design to handle drainage, foot traffic, structures and maintenance equipment operation to protect and grow trees and plants. This plan will still provide ample public use of the park. Two professionals who are qualified to produce such a design are High Country resident Ron Cutlip who did the new Blowing Rock School Playground, Ron’s telephone number is 646-765-5540 and Fred Blackley ASLA of Shelby, N.C., telephone 704-913-2222 or 704-484-1731. The recommended extensive tree cuttings will turn a major attraction into an eyesore if we do not have an excellent plan for new trees and plants.
3. We need to contract with a landscape maintenance firm that has an arborist to maintain memorial park. Continuing to attempt this job with Town staff will likely repeat the errors that have produced today’s crisis. No digging, building, trimming or cutting should be done in the park without the approval and supervision of an arborist.
4. REMOVAL OF TREES THAT ARE NOT TOTALLY DEAD SHOULD ONLY PROCEED AFTER A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT DIRECTS THE REMOVAL WHILE AT THE SAME TIME INITIATING PLANTINGS AND OTHER STEPS TO MITIGATE THE VISUAL DAMAGE. PROBLEM TREE PARTS SHOULD BE TRIMMED IMMEDIATELY UNDER SUPERVISION OF A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT.
5. Citizens should be kept closely informed of this process.
6. BRAAC should be asked to supervise this entire process with the assistance of the Town Manager and Town staff to avoid repeating today’s serious problem. Monthly reports should be submitted to the council by BRAAC and theTown staff on the progress of this project.
I discussed this problem today with Albert Yount who thinks it is imperative that a plan be developed and put into effect for tree replacements before other than totally dead trees are cut down.