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Cary looking at changing how its replacing ash trees

Village may replace infected trees itself

Published: Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 11:30 p.m. CDT

CARY – Village officials are considering a change to how it’s replacing ash trees infected by emerald ash borers.

The village of Cary is working toward removing the remaining 1,800 ash trees in town infected by emerald ash borers.

Those trees are expected to be removed by April 30.

“We have a huge amount of trees coming out all at once,” Public Works Director Erik Morimoto said.

Residents who want a replacement tree in the public right of way in front of their house can participate in the village’s 50/50 replacement program, and pay half the cost of the lowest priced tree on the village’s approved species list. The cost to residents has historically been $90 to $110, according to village documents.

Based on the type of trees residents have chosen, the full cost of the replacement trees, and installation has been $250 to $300, Morimoto said.

Morimoto said there roughly has been a 35 percent participation rate in the program.

With that low participation rate, the village could see a net loss of 1,200 trees, Morimoto said. So the village is looking to shift toward replacing all the trees itself, over a longer period of time.

“We would be in a better position to replace a higher percentage of trees,” Morimoto said.

Under the proposal, the town would be divided into zones and prioritized based on the number of missing trees per block. That list of areas is still being compiled, Morimoto said. The village would focus on the areas with the highest percentage of empty parkways first.

This process could take about 12 years, based on an assumed budget allocation of $50,000 a year, which the village budgeted for tree replacement this year, according to village documents.

Under the proposed process, if residents want to have a tree replaced right away, but are further down on the list, they would have the option to pay the entire cost of the tree, but would be able to take advantage of the village’s bulk pricing and have it installed with the next available bid.

The village would aim to replace the ash trees with a more diverse group of species to protect itself from another large impact from an infestation such as emerald ash borer or Dutch elm disease, Morimoto said.

“We don’t want to put too many eggs in one basket,” Morimoto said.

Morimoto said he expects to have village board members vote on the proposed change within a month of two.

“We see the value to having the trees in our community and the impact sometimes the lack of them can have in neighborhoods where ash trees were predominant,” Morimoto said.

Give feedback

The village of Cary is conducting a survey on its tree replacement program. To participate, go to www.caryillinois.com.

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