‘X’ marks the spot: Tree demolitions scheduled


Kenyon Edmond

A total of 42 trees were marked with bright pink “X”s, signaling they will soon be removed.

By Samantha Boyle, Assistant News Editor

As part of a bigger project to improve mobility in the Champaign-Urbana community, 42 trees from Wright Street and Armory Avenue are marked with large, pink “X”s and are scheduled to be removed.

Brent Lewis, University landscape architect, said the Multimodal Corridor Enhancement Project is working to restructure the campus, and within that redesign, the trees are lost. Currently, MCORE is in its fourth phase out of five.

The MCORE Project began its preliminary design in 2015 and is scheduled to complete construction by 2020.

“Each street will undergo either full reconstruction or major rehabilitation to rebuild the streets into multimodal complete street corridors to accommodate all modes of travel (bus, pedestrian, bike, and vehicle),” according to the MCORE Project website.

The project is estimated to cost about $46.9 million.

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    Although through phase four of MCORE, 42 trees are being taken down, 43 trees are also being replanted, Lewis said. Across the entire project, over 100 trees will be removed and replanted.

    “Even though we are taking down trees, we are getting a net benefit,” Lewis said.

    He said some of the Sweetgum trees on Armory Avenue already don’t have the best planting area because of factors such as the soil they are planted in. They can also cause mobility issues for some pedestrians when the seed pods fall.

    “With the MCORE Project, we are able to mitigate that problem,” Lewis said.

    He said when the trees get replanted, there will also be a higher soil volume, which will allow the trees to live 20 to 30 years longer.

    Diane Plewa, Plant Clinic diagnostician, said both Champaign and Urbana have Tree City USA status.

    According to the Arbor Day Foundation, in order to be labeled a Tree City, a city must maintain a tree board or department, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.

    “Trees provide a lot of value,” Plewa said. “There are economic, ecological and aesthetic values to those trees, and so there are a number of organizations that are really prominent in trying to promote the value of trees. Encouraging people to plant them, to maintain them, that sort of thing.”

    Plewa said it’s important to enjoy trees, considering it is one of the reasons they are planted in the first place, but they are living things and a lot of stressors can affect them, such as bad weather and diseases.

    “It’s one of those things that you easily take for granted,” Plewa said. “But when you go to the (Main) Quad, they have those trees along the sidewalks, and you see people sitting under them, and you see people having the hammocks that are tied between them. We use trees in a lot of ways, and so it’s nice to appreciate them.”

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