Edmore DDA, Village Council talk downtown landscaping
EDMORE — The trees in downtown Edmore are pretty, especially in autumn.
However, they also cover up multiple business signs, they are scattered in clusters throughout the downtown leaving many wide-open gaps and the roots of some of the trees are now growing into the sewer system.
The Edmore Village Council and the Downtown Development Authority held a joint meeting on Oct. 10 to discuss downtown landscaping — especially the trees and whether to remove them altogether.
The DDA has been considering a streetscape project which would involve replacing 35 existing trees with 16 flower planters and 19 trees in response to business owners concerns about the trees getting bigger and overgrown to the point where some trees are blocking store fronts and some roots are growing into sewer lines. The layout of the trees from two or three decades ago doesn’t appear to have any rhyme or reason for it.
Ryan Vander Veen is a DDA member and he also owns NAPA Auto Parts at 523 E. Main St. downtown, where two trees cover both of his business signs, depending on the angle at which motorists are passing by.
“I always want it to look as it good as it can,” he told the Daily News while working behind the counter recently. “You always want it to look clean. Just so you can see all the business fronts. Maybe the trees could be trimmed or taken out. It covers up all the signs out front. The roots are growing into the sewers and stuff like that. We’ve had to get the roots cleaned out of our sewer here.”
The preliminary budget for the considered landscaping project was estimated at $75,000 to $77,000, which would require much of the DDA’s fund balance, so the DDA decided to scale down the project and to move in phases.
At their last meeting, the DDA approved purchasing six large Earthplanter flower planters to be placed downtown with the goal of cutting down 13 trees scattered throughout the downtown to thin out the canopy and create spaces for the planter boxes.
According to meeting minutes, Councilman Chet Guild was against cutting down the current trees. He said while he likes the idea of new trees, the current ones don’t get taken care of, and he also voiced concern about the project being done in phases, as he thinks the downtown will look terrible and will also expose how bad some of the downtown building fronts look.
Village Manager Justin Lakamper, who is also the DDA director, noted that if the village wanted to do the entire project in one year, they could consider increasing the tax capture financing or asking the Village Council for assistance in funding the project. Guild questioned why the DDA doesn’t just use its entire current fund balance to fund the whole project in one year, an idea Lakamper appeared to agree with.
Councilman Tom Colburn noted that the new planners won’t cover up any of the downtown blight and they will also be open in the wintertime. He suggested going to downtown businesses and asking which trees they would like to see saved or removed.
Village President Gloria Burr said the council would like the DDA to come up with a printed visual of the feedback they receive. Burr also thanked the DDA for participating in the joint meeting with the Village Council and she added that she thinks both sides should do this more often.
The next Edmore Village Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight. All meetings are open to the public.