WEST LAFAYETTE -- The old, maple tree stood on the corner near the intersection of Kirk and Wood streets for many years. It was enjoyed by many of the residents that lived nearby and was a source of shelter from the blazing sun. It even served as a windbreak from the gusting winds. The trees that line the village streets are also seen as "something that really makes the village street more appealing," according to Jim Fleming, a long time resident of West Lafayette.
Fleming attended the West Lafayette Village Council meeting April 26 to discuss his dissatisfaction that the tree was removed -- and without any warning. Fleming owns the property that is near the site where the tree stood and said he had previously lived in the home which is now vacant. Fleming said he greatly enjoyed the benefits and the beauty of the old maple tree for many years, and is saddened by its loss.
Village Administrator Dave Kadri responded to Fleming's concerns, informing him that the village was responding to a complaint by another village resident that the tree was in poor condition and needed removed.
Kadri said the tree was later assessed and found to have decay to the center. Kadri said the village was informed that the tree would eventually fall and it was recommended that the tree be removed. Kadri said he had attempted to notify Fleming that the tree was scheduled to be removed but Fleming was unavailable at the time. Kadri said he then failed to follow up with Fleming, and the village proceeded to have the tree removed.
The village does have a procedure that involves notifying property owners that are near areas being maintained by the village. Kadri offered his apology to Fleming regarding the issue of not following up but said the village had no alternative other than to remove the tree due to safety concerns.
Mayor Jack Patterson added that the village would work to improve on future follow-up discussions with village residents.
Fleming later inquired if the village could remove the unsightly stump and whether another tree could possibly be planted. Kadri and Mayor Patterson expressed that they both felt replanting another tree was a good idea and agreed that it did offer benefits to the village street. Kadri was agreeable to check on stump removal and replanting a new tree since the area is considered a state-owned right of way; it is only maintained by the village at the direction of the state. Kadri was unsure where the funding would come from to grind and remove the stump, and replant another tree.
Other items discussed by council included:
* Kadri said the grant was approved and the village is now waiting for the bidding process to be completed regarding replacement of concrete and installing lighting at Burt Park, near the grandstand. He said he was in hopes the project would be completed before the Hometown Festival in late July.
* Ordinance Committee Chairman Roger Warne said the committee has completed the discussion of the solicitation ordinance and will have it reviewed by village's legal representation. It should be ready to present it at an upcoming council meeting. He added that the animal feces ordinance is still under review with the committee.
* Pool Committee Chairman Dave Rogers said the committee met last Monday. He said Patterson Pool has offered some other possible solutions for the issue with the village pool. He said the committee will be looking at possible funding for those suggestions at the next meeting that which will be May 17.
Council's next meeting will be May 10 at 7 p.m.