Trees to be Removed in Preparation for Downtown Redesign

Monday, February 6, 2017

Trees to Be Removed in Preparation for Downtown Redesign   Almost a year after the Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency launched an ambitious effort with downtown business owners and stakeholders to redesign Main Avenue, the agency will soon begin preparing the five-block stretch of Downtown Twin Falls for reconstruction. With weather permitting, contractors with the agency will begin working on Friday, Feb. 17 through Monday, Feb. 20 to remove 163 trees that will be replaced with species more suitable for urban landscaping.  The existing trees were planted in the 1970s and have developed root systems that are buckling sidewalks. Damage to the sidewalks has increased concerns about pedestrian safety and obstructing access for individuals requiring wheelchairs or walkers.  “If we had a choice of keeping the trees and retaining safe accessibility to downtown, we would certainly have elected to keep the existing trees,” said Dan Brizee, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency. “But unfortunately when they were planted about 40 years ago, it was understood that they would eventually grow out of their footprint. We plan to replace them with a variety of trees that are full of color and are sustainable in urban areas.” The new trees planned for Main Avenue include Parkway Maples, Tulip Trees, Newport Plum, and Chanticleer Pear, which are widely used in urban landscaping for their heartiness, vivid colors, and root bulbs that do not damage sidewalks. Despite their names, the trees bear little or no fruit, which will help keep the new sidewalks clean. The removal of trees and landscaping will help prepare the area for Main Avenue reconstruction, which will being in April and continue through fall of 2017. The five-block reconstruction project will replace and upgrade deteriorating infrastructure, while also redesigning streets, sidewalks, and landscaping to be more conducive to current and future redevelopment. The agency would like to express its appreciation to downtown businesses that will remain open during tree removal. Although contractors are asking the public to be aware of areas that are closed for the removal of landscaping, both contractors and the agency are encouraging the public to continue to visit downtown and support the businesses. The public is asked to not park vehicles on Main Avenue between Idaho Street and Fairfield Street beginning at 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 through 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20. Contractors will close vehicle access on a block-by-block basis, but pedestrian access will remain open for the duration of the project. Visitors are asked to use parking lots on Second Avenue East and Second Avenue West.   A permit to remove the trees was approved by the Twin Falls Parks and Recreation Department, with a request that the agency make the trees available to artists who may be interested in repurposing the trees. The agency is asking any local artists or craftsmen who are interested in repurposing the trees to contact Nathan Murray, Executive Director of the Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency, at 208-735-7240.  Please remember the following:  

  • Do not park vehicles on Main Avenue from 10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 through 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20
  • All businesses and pedestrian access will remain open during the project
  • After removal of the trees, three-foot stumps will remain to prevent tripping hazards on hidden root bulbs
  • The agency will replace existing trees with new trees that are more sustainable in urban environment