Mount Airy officials have given the green light for the removal of 33 trees along North Main Street at Oakdale Cemetery to avoid a potentially grave situation.
This move is aimed at protecting monuments at the city cemetery from damage if the trees fall, as well as preventing possible injures and property damage from trees toppling over into the street.
In all, 33 Norway spruce pines are located in a row along the graveyard on the east side of North Main Street.
One did fall recently, which was not a result of weather, according to information from the city cemetery commission. That tree was found to be rotted in the middle, and another one near the same site has a 3-foot stress fracture — meaning it could fall at any time.
The size and position of the trees has prompted concern from commission members about the damage that could occur to expensive monuments in the vicinity should they fall toward the cemetery.
After being discussed at a recent meeting of the cemetery commission, members decided to proceed with the trees’ removal. But while agreeing with that plan, Bill Beamer — one member of the group — said he believes something else should be planted in the same space.
The tree removal was approved by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners during a recent meeting, which included an $8,000 allocation to fund the project. A budget amendment was made to have this sum transferred from a city cemetery endowment fund.
That price will include removing all 33 trees along with the stumps, brush and chips.
City crews will apply dirt, seed and straw to the site afterward, under the cemetery commission recommendation.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.