Work crews on Monday began removing 19 mature trees along Grand Boulevard south of 29th Avenue.
The sound of chainsaws may have startled some in the neighborhood, but the work is part of the broader plan to re-pave Grand and then plant new trees at no cost to homeowners.
The city sent out notices to affected people two months ago in an attempt to quell the sort of uproar that has often developed when majestic old trees shading city streets are suddenly cut down or severely pruned.
Poor pruning by crews cutting away branches from power lines four years ago along Grand angered some.
Tree trimmers in some instances cut the middle out of trees that had grown around power lines, leaving the trees with an unsightly “V” appearance.
At least one homeowner along Grand, who asked not to be named, said the trees had become an eyesore and he’s glad they are being removed.
Avista Corp. is working closely with the city’s urban forestry program on the current project, sharing the cost of removal and helping select replacement trees that won’t impede power lines.
After the paving work is down, the Spokane County Conservation District will donate 38 new trees at least two inches in diameter for replanting, said urban forester Angel Spell.
Most of the trees being removed were Norway maples, she said. The new trees will not achieve such height as they mature. While its unknown which kind of trees will be planted, neighbors will have some small say in the species, Spell said. That may include varieties of hawthorns, dogwoods, crabapple, magnolias, serviceberry, ash and others.
The availability will depend on what the conservation district has in stock this fall.
Planting the maples years ago was a poor choice, Spell said. Though leafy and handsome, the trees are tall and grew into power lines strung along the busy city street.