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What kind of memorial is it now?

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What kind of memorial is it now?

If a tree falls on Mount Vernon Avenue or Virginia Avenue, people will hear it. They will see the devastation. Their cars, houses and even their personal safety will be at risk.

Just 14 of the massive willow oak trees planted along those streets remain. They were originally part of a memorial for the 41 Danville soldiers killed during World War I.

But time hasn’t been good to the memorial. Tree roots have grown over the bronze markers that bore the names of the 41 soldiers. Most of the willow oak trees have been lost. In other places, tree roots have cracked the curbing. Some trees have soft spots and rot, and even cable support systems have been used to shore up some of them.

“Whoever owns the trees decides what risk they can live with,” arborist Joseph Murray of Staunton said. “But you’re really limited on what you can do when they are that size and age. … Over the years of doing this, it used to be 50-50. After the derecho, it was about 90 percent who wanted them down.”

The risk of a large tree falling in this picturesque urban neighborhood tightly packed with people, homes and cars is substantial — and unnecessary.

The city government is undertaking another survey of neighborhood residents in conjunction with the West End Neighborhood Civic Association. Certainly, public support will be necessary to remove those trees.

The best option would be to replace the trees with a sustainable mix of trees that will have a better chance of thriving in that environment while enhancing the appearance of the neighborhood and honoring the Danvillians who gave their lives during World War I.

“Oaks are just not meant to be in a constrained area,” Public Works Director Rick Drazenovich said. “… We’ve tried to keep them alive as long as we could, but I think it’s final decision time. I hope we can reestablish something — just not with oaks.”

Something has already been established along Mount Vernon and Virginia avenues — one of the best local examples of a desirable, livable urban neighborhood. The remaining oaks that were a part of this war memorial threaten that neighborhood. They should come down and be replaced with something that’s more suited for those streets.


Written by vaphc

August 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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