To Tree or Not to Tree; Wilmore Trees Removed

WILMORE — The City of Wilmore is removing trees from its downtown area and is working on replacing them with another type of plant display.

The trees, planted along the downtown’s sidewalks, have grown over the street making parking difficult for trucks and vans, said Wade Adams Mitchell, owner of Wade’s Barbershop on Main Street.

“I saw a lot of contractor vans have their roof racks damaged by them,” he said. “I also saw vehicles pull away and inadvertently drag Christmas lights off the trees!”

Many of the trees were dying or dead, said Mitchell and Judy Woolums, Wilmore Community Development Board director.

“The remaining trees were misshapen and showing deterioration with weak and dying limbs,” Woolums said.
Mitchell added, “Their branches were falling into the street and into the sidewalk creating a hazard.”

Tree roots were upheaving the paver outliners of the planting holes, causing safety issues, Woolums said.

The trees were a cool idea that just wasn’t working, Mitchell said.

Some businesses objected to the trees, because they blocked the view of shop windows and they thought they were unattractive.

“I loved the shade and I didn’t like the idea of cutting them down, but there just wasn’t a sensible reason for keeping them anymore,” Mitchell said.

City staff is researching the topic to come up with several proposals.

“There will likely be a combination of large planters and trees to replace what has been removed,” Woolums said. “Different staff are looking into what would work, researching online and consulting with local nurserymen. We are also checking to see what other small communities have on their main streets (Nicholasville, Harrodsburg, Versailles, Danville, Paris, Georgetown, etc.)”

Mitchell added, “I saw the proposal to replace them and it sounds both attractive and practical, especially when Wilmore has special activities on Main Street,” he said. “I’m anxious to see it!”

Woolums said Wilmore will have to address lighting and electrical supply.

“There will be an attempt to remedy these as much as possible given budget restraints,” she said.

Wilmore needs to upgrade as much as possible to enhance visitors’ experience, Woolum said.

“Our East Main Street business district has experience very positive growth in the last several years with new building owners, new businesses, new updates to the buildings, and active events throughout the year such as the recent Valentines Night Out, Shop Small Business Week, Third Thursday Night Markets in the summer, and an upcoming Spring Open House for Businesses,” she said.

With people weighing in on both sides of the tree debate, Woolums said the social media postings show that Wilmore residents are paying attention and want an attractive business district and community to live in.

“Our goal is to meet that expectation,” she said.

When the Jessamine Journal posted a photo seeking comments about trees on Facebook, more than 40 people shared their opinions. Comments are as they appear on social media.

Lisa Bryant McCord: Keep the trees. There are only a few things left in downtown as it is, and trees will be important if we ever decide to revitalize it!!

Terrie Gibbons Snell: Keep the trees!

Aaron Strickland: Trees are apart of the earth not buildings they have a role for are environment logical question you should ask, what about people or buildings they all have a roles to so no dont cut them down.

Helen Bratcher Schuler: Oh no, please do not cut the trees down, my favorite part of going thru Wilmore! I just love down town Wilmore!

Nancy Flores: Towns everywhere are planting trees like this…we need all the trees we can get…they produce Oxygen and are beautiful.