Yellow ribbons, like the one pictured here, were tied around trees on the west side of the Davison County courthouse in July while local officials considered a plan to remove trees for extra parking. This ribbon read, "Save Me, call your commissioner." (Republic photo/Laura Wehde)
The ongoing controversy over the city’s proposed land swap with Jerry Thomsen is only the latest proof that there’s no quicker way to spark a local controversy than to threaten trees.
About 70 people showed up Monday evening at City Hall to argue for the protection of the wooded, 9-acre parcel of city-owned land that is involved in the proposed land swap, and the council decided to put off consideration of the matter until February.
Here are some other recent, local tree controversies:
- An ill-fated proposal to chop down some trees near the courthouse in order to make way for additional parking.
- City Councilman Scott Houwman’s overzealous tree-cutting along the shore of Lake Mitchell.
- The removal of trees from the downtown area for safety reasons, which sparked calls of concern from the public.
The Houwman story produced one of the more memorable quotes I’ve ever heard. It came from local fisherman Boyd Johnson, who said this:
"They shouldn’t even own a chainsaw in this state. We ain’t got the trees."
Local public officials could probably save themselves a lot of headaches by keeping that sentiment in mind.