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Worthington Trees Face Removal

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For most people, trees are pleasing to they eye, but more than 50 trees in Worthington’s main park may have to be cut down.

After an inspection, officials said the placement of the trees violates a levee system in place.

The Colorado blue spruce and White Pine Trees that stand along side Whiskey Ditch in Centennial Park are the ones at risk, most of the trees were planted in the 1960's and some of them reach 35 feet tall.

"This will be quite the visual aesthetic impact if these trees all do need to be removed," said Rosenberg.

Worthington Parks Supervisor, Scott Rosenberg, said the trees placement failed a recent inspection.

Whiskey ditch was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1955, which includes a levee system in place for the city's flood protection.

The Corps recently sent a letter to the City of Worthington that said the roots from the trees could go into the system and endanger the project, and branches from the trees could hold debris back if a flood occurs.

"They've really hammered down on the requirements and what's allowed," said Rosenberg.

If the trees do have to be removed, the city can re-plant, this time on the East side of the bike trail in Centennial Park.

"There's immediate concerns," said Haffield.

Dwayne Haffield, the city's engineer, said there are two options for the trees, the city could remove them or let the project become inactive.

"As an active project it could be funded. If now it's inactive and it's damaged by a flood, there's no outside funding for that," said Haffield.

While the decision is up in the air, park officials will not ignore the existing trees and encourages people to enjoy them while they can.

"We'll continue to maintain the trees as we have in the past," said Rosenberg.

Worthington city officials have two years to decide what to do with the trees, the city council ultimately has the final say.
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