Trees removed from local elementary schools to be replaced with 187 new ones

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After 30 trees were removed from two school sites in Mountlake Terrace, officials from the Edmonds School District and the City of Mountlake Terrace are working toward replacing the trees.

Construction crews at the site of the new Mountlake Terrace Elementary School, 22001 52nd Ave. W., recently removed 26 diseased trees there. Another four trees were cut down in front of nearby Terrace Park School, 5409 228th St. S.W., by school district maintenance workers.

The trees were removed due to disease and the danger they posed, a district official said.

“We did determine, after review and recommendation by a certified arborist, that some trees would need to be removed from the site due to poor health – disease – and the scope of the new school design,” said district spokeswoman Debbie Joyce Jakala of the tree removal at the Mountlake Terrace Elementary School construction site.

Jakala noted that although 26 trees were subtracted from the site, 187 new trees will be planted as part of the landscaping for the new elementary school that is expected to open in September 2018.

“The design team has selected trees that will best grow safely – not topple over – without disease and best fit and complement the design of the new school,” Jakala added.

The four birch trees cut down along 228th Street Southwest in front of Terrace Park School were diseased and “threatened to fall into a neighbor’s yard,” Jakala said. “It was a safety concern that maintenance addressed.”

The removal of the 30 trees initially raised concerns among Mountlake Terrace city officials. “Mature trees were recently removed from two elementary school sites without prior notice to and approval from the city,” City Manager Scott Hugill said in his Sept. 1 City Manager’s Weekly Report.

Hugill did note that the trees may have been removed for cause.

“The city is working with the Edmonds School District to replace the removed trees for consistency with the underlying approvals,” Hugill concluded.

–Story and photos by Doug Petrowski

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