Mayor waits on reports on W. Auglaize St. project trees

Three reports regarding trees along the proposed $2.1 million West Auglaize Street reconstruction project should provide the details needed to decide which trees stay and which trees need to be removed, Mayor Rodney Metz told Wapakoneta City Council members during Monday’s meeting.

Metz is awaiting reports from city Engineering Superintendent Mary Ruck, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Urban Forester Stephanie Miller and Choice One Engineering consultants. Choice One Engineering is the firm working with the city on the street project.

“We walked all of West Auglaize Street and there will be a number of trees which will remain, there will be a number of trees that will come down for a number of reasons whether it be an ash tree, too close to the street, too close to the driveway, or over a sanitary sewer line,” said Metz, who plans to compare the notes of each professional.

“The other reason for removing the trees is a large number of them are unsafe and Stephanie (Miller) defined them as a dangerous trees — trees which are susceptible to splitting or have already split.”

He said some species of trees are too large for a tree lawn. He also explained smaller trees may be transplanted and replanted in the West Auglaize Street tree lawn, while others will just be transplanted to the section of East Benton Street reconstructed in 2012.

Metz said there will be variations in the width of the street and in places the width will not be as originally proposed to allow for more trees and to permit the saving of some trees.

“Choice One has promised to have the street drawings completed as soon as possible so they can be reviewed by Streets, Alleys and Sidewalks Committee members and Tree Commission members so the information can be reviewed before a hearing can be scheduled for the public,” Metz said, referring to the full-depth reconstruction of the street between South Blackhoof Street and West Pearl Street.

After Monday’s council meeting, the mayor explained it is not as crucial to change the width of West Auglaize Street at a curve compared to when the street is straight. He said maintaining the width when the street is straight is important for a variety of city services, especially for plowing snow on that section.

An associated problem with changing the width of the street is the additional footage needed to construct the form to pour concrete for the curbs and gutters.

“We will look at what Choice One proposes because they will propose what will fit the scheme and what will fit in regard to funding,” Metz said. “The engineer who participated in the walking tour offered some choices.”

He said he expects to receive written reports from, Choice One, Miller and Ruck in the near future. An area still open for debate is the types of trees to be planted, which will be discussed by Miller and Wapakoneta City Tree Commission members.