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Trees at Mt. Pleasant's Frick Park coming down

| Friday, March 1, 2013, 5:15 p.m.
These trees at Frick Park in Mt. Pleasant are slated to be removed in about a month. The root system of the trees is causing damage to the walking track creating a hazard for walkers and runners as well as causing the retaining wall to lean. Linda Harkcom | For the Daily Courier

After exhausting all efforts to save five trees in Frick Park, Mt. Pleasant Borough Council decided to have them removed.

Councilman Kevin McFeaters, chairman of the borough's parks and recreation committee, said the ash and maple trees located between the retaining wall and the walking track will be removed late March or early April.

“The roots are causing the concrete slabs to heave and create a tripping hazard for people who use the track. There is also a possibility that it is causing a problem with the retaining wall. Part of it is leaning,” McFeaters said. “We didn't really want to take them down, but it seems like it's the best thing to do.”

Jim Durstine, owner of A-1 Lawn and Tree Service in Hecla, which won the contract to remove the trees, confirmed the roots are causing damage to both the track and the wall. He said the root system of the trees goes down as far as 4 feet then reaches out a few feet past the trees' drip line, or the farthest reaching tips of the branches and leaves.

“The roots are really pushing that retaining wall out,” Durstine said.

He said the process to remove the trees should take about a week depending on weather and other factors.

Councilwoman Cynthia Stevenson said the trees have been causing damage for several years, which has been repeatedly repaired over the years. She said council exhausted efforts to keep the trees and a few years ago even had an expert from Penn State look at the trees.

“Nobody likes to see mature trees cut down,” Stevenson said. “But even the expert from Penn State recommended the trees come down.”

McFeaters said council would like to repair or replace the walking track and the retaining wall, but work cannot be done on either until the trees are removed.

Once that work is complete, he said council will look into what can be planted in that area.

“We do want to replace them with something that will not do damage to the track or the wall,” he said.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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