Street trees are beautiful, and good for the environment, but they come with a downside: Their roots.
Roots cause problems for city sidewalks, lifting up the slabs and creating tripping hazards for pedestrians.
This summer, Crestwood is kicking off a major project to repair broken and displaced sidewalks. Nearly 20,000 square feet of damaged city sidewalks will be repaired or replaced, and the city will take over maintenance of all sidewalks in the future.
Officials also plan changes to city code that would prohibit planting trees within 10 feet of the sidewalk or 15 feet of the curb if you have no sidewalk.
“The Board of Aldermen has made neighborhood infrastructure a key priority area for the city, and this project fixes a big problem that we’ve had for a long time,” Crestwood Mayor Gregg Roby said in a news release on the changes.
The city also plans to remove 183 problematic right-of-way trees, which are lifting up sidewalk slabs.
But replacing the sidewalks without addressing the issue of street tree roots would be shortsighted, City Administrator Kris Simpson said. The roots grow under the sidewalk and cause the slabs to lift.
“We’d have to cut the roots to do the repair, causing great harm to the trees,” Simpson said. “That would also make them more likely to be blown over in a storm. Unfortunately, the trees must be removed. We have plans to make up for it, though.”
Crestwood prides itself on its designation as a “Tree City USA,” and to offset the tree removals, Crestwood is offering free tree seedlings to the first 1,000 residents who request one. The city will be taking orders for seedlings from May through September.
Residents can pick up their seedlings next spring and can plant the tree where they’d like on their property — so long as it is at least 10 feet away from the sidewalk.
Crestwood residents can learn more and order a seedling by filling out the form at www.cityofcrestwood.org/sidewalks, calling (314) 729-4704 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.