Grant would help replace La Crosse ash trees - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Grant would help replace La Crosse ash trees

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - La Crosse has taken down more than one-third of it's 6,000 city-owned ash trees since 2012.

It's a precaution before their unavoidable fate of falling victim to the emerald ash borer.

Thursday night the city council approved a grant that will replace the trees lining La Crosse's boulevards.

"On the river, at the base of the bluffs, our setting here is spectacular and I think everyone recognizes the importance of protecting it," said Sheila Garrity, executive director of the La Crosse Community Foundation.

According to Garrity, the foundation is offering the city a $50,000 grant to replace ash trees, and the city will match that grant.

The Paul E. Stry Foundation is also chipping in $20,000, which would give the city $120,000 for the entire project.

The grants would buy up to 600 trees of several different native species. That way there's no more than 15 percent of a specific kind of tree, according to Cinthia Johnson, coordinator for La Crosse Parks & Forestry.

"So we don't have the same problem happen again," she said.

"It was hard for us. It's hard for the residents as well," Johnson added about cutting down the ash trees. Barren streets beat the alternative.

"While we might be seeing an empty street, we could have been seeing a street with completely dead and rotten trees," Johnson said.

With many groups stepping in to help, the city plans to replant all 4,500 boulevard trees in the next five to seven years, according to Johnson.

The city did have a tree overhaul like this a few decades back when Dutch Elm Disease struck. Many of those trees were replaced by ash trees.
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