Uproar in Chaska Over Uprooting Historic, Old Trees
Chaska residents are in an uproar over the city's plan to uproot old, historic trees. City officials are redoing the more than 70-year-old sewage, water and utility systems along all downtown streets.
According to City Administrator Matt Podhrasky, the only way to successfully accomplish the goal involves removing trees. City crews have completed work on three of the streets since 2010. By 2018, the city plans to do the same on all downtown streets spanning 12 blocks by 6 blocks.
Residents don't seem to like what they have seen so far. Kenneth Fahey has lived in downtown Chaska for 48 years. He says of the stretches where old trees have been torn down, "it looks very desolate and forlorn." His neighbor, Jeanie Madigan-Florea says she moved to thea area 9 years ago because of its quaint, historic charm. She says the century-old trees are part of the character of the town. She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "We are seriously considering moving from downtown Chaska due to this blatant disregard of what made downtown Chaska a desirable place to live." Neighbor Amanda Fink said of seeing the revamped, tree-less stretches for the first time "I cried...it's something that is part of us, not just a tree."
Podhrasky expressed regret that the trees were being removed, saying "this isn't a first choice that you'd like to do." But he defended the city's action, stressing the need to revamp the failing utilities saying "unfortunately the only thing to do is to remove the trees to be able to put that in."
The old trees will be replaced on a "one to one bases" said Podhrasky, or in some cases, more than that. The new trees will obviously be younger, smaller ones roughly three inches in diameter.