Lake Mills residents show love for trees slated for removal

Lake Mills residents show love for trees slated for removal

Lake Mills residents affixed hearts to show affection for decades-old trees along Main Street set to be removed in the spring of 2018.

That’s when the street, which carries Highway 89 through the Jefferson County town, is set to be widened. The widening will require nearly all of the trees along the road to be cut down, Lake Mills City Manager Steve Wilke said.

“In the tree terrace, there’s virtually no trees that are going to survive,” Wilke said.

Wilke said the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will partially compensate the city so it can install new trees along Main Street.

The new trees, which will grow to be smaller than the originals, are supposed to bloom each spring. Wilke hopes this can turn into a tourist attraction.

“Being able to drive a mile and a half of a stretch of a roadway with all these blooming trees in the spring would make people drive down and look at it,” Wilke said. “Maybe like the cherry blossoms in Washington or some of the things that go on in Door County.”

Some residents have voiced displeasure over the impending tree removal.

“I think it’s a horrible plan to remove them. The road has been this way for so long,” Lake Mills resident Natalie Wollin said. “I don’t think there’s any reason why we need to expand the road.”

Wollin said the hearts show her “that people still care about things like nature and it’s not all about the hustle and bustle of things.”

She said she’ll miss the historic trees.

“Most of these trees have been around a lot longer than the residents in this town,” Wollin said. “It would be really sad to see them go.”

Wilke said Lake Mills remains committed to its trees.

“We have been a Tree City,” Wilke said. “We look at them from the perspective of what they add to the community as far as culture, what they add to community as far as controlling ambient temperatures in the streets, reducing pollution, and all the other types of things.”

A Tree City is a designation given to municipalities by the National Arbor Day Foundation that meet standards set by the organization.

The city’s website has a rendering of its new Main Street as well as other documents related to the construction project.