11 Callery pear trees to get axed, Bloomington’s park board OKs $17K contract

By mid-November, nine of Bloomington’s Callery pear trees will be cut down, along the B-Line Trail, north of the 3rd Street bridge and south of 4th Street.

Their stumps will be ground down six inches below the surface. Eight of the trees are eventually to be replaced with a native species.

Another two Callery pears on the west side of the B-Line just south of Kirkwood Avenue will also be removed and replaced as a part of the contracted work.

The removal of the trees is part of Bloomington’s 15-year plan to eradicate all of the Callery pears in the public right-of-way. They’re considered to be an invasive species, and are prohibited as street trees under city code.  Based on the city’s online tree inventory, Bloomington now has 1,246 public Callery pears.

A $17,523 contract with Bluestone Tree for the Callery pear removal and replacement was approved by the four-member board of park commissioners at its regular Tuesday meeting.

Included in the contract with Bluestone is the replacement of the trees.

At Tuesday’s board of park commissioners meeting, the city’s urban forester, Haskell Smith, responded to a question from park commissioner Jim Whitlatch by listing off some possibilities for native species that might replace the pear trees—yellowwood, hophornbeam, or coffeetree.

According to Smith’s memo to the board, the work will require shutting down the B-Line Trail for two or three hours.

Smith’s memo says a low-traffic time will be chosen, and flaggers will be stationed on both sides of the closure. Barriers will be installed and temporary rerouting plans will be put in place, according to the memo.

4 thoughts on “11 Callery pear trees to get axed, Bloomington’s park board OKs $17K contract

  1. We must be over-funding the city, if they choose to spend it on this. We still have dozens of people living in the tent village at the south end of the Switchyard. It’s all about priorities as we enter winter and continue to slide into the recession/inflation/inflation.

  2. This is deeply disturbing. It’s one thing to opt not to plant any more trees that are classified as invasive. Cutting them down is another. It fits with the general pattern of life in Bloomington: destroy, destroy, destroy. The old hospital and (but here I think the blame falls on IU) the building on 7th St.–environmentally it is a complete outrage. Bloomington used to be a place I felt proud to be a part of. No more. In addition, as brought up above, there are truly serious issues that should be addressed. For example, is there a way to make Seminary Square park a safe place for homeless people who choose to live there in tents? Could we provide restrooms, for example? If not, can we come up with a positive solution, rather than just getting out the bulldozers and forcing people out of where they are living–first there, now elsewhere? Finally, there is the insane expense of cutting down the trees.

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