Change of scenery in west Wichita as dead trees are removed

WICHITA, Kansas — The tree-lined streets of a west Wichita neighborhood look a lot different tonight. Residents were wondering why the trees were being cut down.

Westlink resident Anthony Shields said, “They were actually put in by the neighborhood, they were bought and paid for by the neighborhood.”

They may look like just a row of trees, but for the people of Westlink, they mean a whole lot more.

“These trees have grown up with the neighborhood. A lot of these used to have tire swings along them or whatever,” said Shields.

The trees were planted by longtime Westlink resident Carla Lee, along with her husband and their neighbors on arbor day in the late 1970s.
The city says some of the trees are dead and they need to be cut down.

Joe Pajor, the Director of Public Works and Utilities for the City of Wichita said, “If the tree is dead it needs to be removed because it creates a safety hazard going forward.”

Not all of the trees look dead to the untrained eye, so when Shields looked out of his window and saw what looked like living trees being cut down, he was concerned.

“50% of them appear to be pretty dead and probably should come down, but 50% of them like the tree you and I are standing under now, full of life,” Shields said.

Wichita relies on experts to decide which trees can stay, and which ones get cut down.

Pajor said, “Professional trained arborist is going to be the correct person for us to turn to for guidance on which trees should be removed.”

It’s something the city says you can expect to see more of around Wichita, thanks to invasive bugs and the drought.
The trees in this neighborhood will be replaced with new ones by the city, which is a relief to the people in Westlink.

“I’d just like to see dome trees in my neighborhood. Who doesn’t want trees? Especially big beautiful trees like this,” said Shields.

The city arborist and his staff will now decide what type of trees will be replanted, which will likely happen next winter.

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