Official Response to Removal of Pine Trees

It's been a hot topic, so let's try to straighten up some facts and discuss it!
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Eric Ott
Posts: 2
Joined: March 7th, 2018, 6:25 pm
Are You a Merrill, Wisconsin Resident?: Yes
District Number: 3

Official Response to Removal of Pine Trees

Post by Eric Ott » March 26th, 2018, 6:27 pm

We've seen the topic arise over and over online for the past few weeks/months, and it's been met with a lot of frustration and mixed feelings when looking for answers, often times turning into very heated discussions. I am happy to announce that I am finally able to provide you with the Official Reason and details of why the pine trees came down on the North side of the Fair/Festival Grounds along 6th Street.
So here's the deal without any speculation or opinions. Just facts, like "Setting the Record Straight" was designed for.

This morning, 3/26/2018, I contacted the Public Works Director and City Engineer for the City of Merrill, Mr. Rod Akey, and I asked him a series of questions that he was very quickly able to provide.
(Q/Questions asked by Me, Eric Ott; A/Answers given by Rod Akey)

Q: Why were the trees on the northern perimeter of the fair/festival grounds removed and are they being replaced?
A: With the upcoming reconstruction of Sixth Street from Sales Street to Johnson Street, we felt this was the best time to remove these trees for several reasons.
  • -The excavation required for this project will unearth some of the root system on the north side of the trees which is not good for the health or the strength of the trees especially with a north wind.
  • - New curb and gutter will be placed on both sides of the street, currently there isn’t curb and gutter on this stretch of Sixth Street. With new curb and gutter it isn’t a good practice to have roots to grow back under and cause the curb and gutter to heave.
  • -The age of these trees was getting to the point where we were seeing some dye off, we felt it was time to harvest these trees and still be able to utilize or sell.
  • -The removal will allow for more sunlight on this stretch of road in the winter months which will help us keep the surface ice free.

The proposed planting plan will allow for a more diverse selection of trees, which will display more color throughout the (growing) year.

Q: Are the trees along the East side of the fair/festival grounds also going to be removed, and will they also be replaced with new trees?
A: We decided to remove the Sixth Street trees this year and will keep an eye on the Memorial Drive trees and probably recommend removal in the next five years. Again these trees are mature and would be harvested if they were in any other setting. These trees would be replaced with trees more suitable for an urban setting, deciduous trees allow for sunlight to reach Memorial Drive which again helps us in our northern climate keep the roads free of ice.

The discussion/decision to remove these trees was addressed at the Board of Public Works meeting on September 27th, 2017. At this meeting we discussed removing the trees on Sixth Street as well as the trees on Memorial Drive.

To Sum this all up, The trees are being removed along 6th Street, for a road construction project where curb and gutter will be installed. The curb and gutter may not only harm the tree roots, but the tree roots may damage the curb and gutter as well. The trees will be replaced with a variety of 13 different species of trees (See Below) that are more suitable for an urban setting. The trees along Memorial drive will probably be recommended for Removal in the next 5 years, but they will keep an eye on them. A similar plan as shown below, will be developed and made available to the public for Memorial Drive at that time.

Removal Guide:

Tree List to be Planted along 6th Street (click on any of the following to view more about the plant):
Snowdance Japanese Lilac
Northern Red Oak
Purple Prince Crab
Greenspire Linden
Whitespire Birch
Snowdance Crab (Could not locate)
Northern Pin Oak
Swamp White Oak
Valley Forge Elm
Yellow Birch
American Linden
Royal Raindrop Crab
Princeton Elm

Planting Guide:

Link to Board of Public Works Meeting: ... &CssClass=

I would like to Thank Mr. Akey again for his time, as well as Greg Hartwig and Brad Becker for all of their time they dedicated in discussing this matter with me and others in the community. I hope this helps to clear up some of the shock and confusion this whole situation may have caused. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to Mr. Akey at:

Feel free to keep this discussion going below, and take the poll up top!
Eric Ott - Candidate for District 3 Alderman and Creator of


Re: Official Response to Removal of Pine Trees

Post by Guest » March 27th, 2018, 6:55 pm

Thank You So So SO much for this information! It's sad to see that none of our current Elected Representatives could handle this and better inform the public like their job is... Too bad. I'll be voting for all new candidates this time around!

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