Before the trees are removed, city officials want to hear what citizens think the trees should be replaced with. Public input is being sought when Downtown Review Board members meet 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
“We’re going to wait to see what the public thinks before going in that direction,” Mayor Chase Ritenauer said Monday. “The other issue, too, is, when removed and when the water lines are there, what goes back there?”
Ritenauer said a city ordinance forbids “bushes or shrubs” being planted where the trees are removed. He said city officials need to determine how literal the ordinance is.
Lorraine Ritchey, co-chairwoman of the Charleston Village Society, a neighborhood improvement group, said she understands the removal is necessary, but said it will damage the street’s image with visitors.
“Economically and aesthetically it’s a loss,” she said. “I understand we have to have water lines and sewers (but) it’s just sad.”
Renee Dore, Charleston’s other co-chairwoman, said she recalls FirstEnergy Corp., removing 14 trees in her 2nd Street neighborhood in 2007 to make way for power lines.
“I was just absolutely devastated,” she said. “My street has never been the same.”
Dore said FirstEnergy initially planned to cut 19 trees but negotiated with neighbors to reduce the number. Dore said she is upset the city hasn’t discussed the removal more with residents.
“You can never replace the cascading look of these trees out over your street,” she said. “They offer charm, heating and cooling (and) shading for these people.”
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.