Minocqua’s public works department on Wednesday cut down five potentially hazardous trees in Torpy Park.
The work started around 7:45 a.m., according to Public Works Director Butch Welch, with crews removing the largest tree first to allow space for the additional trees.
“What we wanted to do is clear another fall zone,” Welch said.
Town crew members began prepping for the work earlier in the week.
Welch said the trees would be delivered to Pukall Lumber, and that the town would be compensated for the wood to the extent it is usable. He said the town sold about eight trees to Pukall several years ago for about $1,200.
At least two trees showed signs of decay when they were cut down. A swarm of black ants could be seen scurrying on the stumps and ends of the tree trunks. Parts of tree cores were also rotted.
An excavator will dig out the stumps on Friday. Then, the areas where the trees once stood will be covered with black dirt and seeded for grass.
The town board earlier this summer approved removal of the five trees after some citizens raised concerns about a plan to cut down about 11 trees in the park to make room for a shelter. The board ultimately revised that plan so just one tree would have to be removed, but electors voted the proposal down in June; state law requires towns to obtain consent from electors to erect structures.
Debate over the shelter prompted officials to scrutinize the health of the trees.
In May, a lawyer for the town’s insurance company advised that any hazardous trees in the park should be removed immediately because of liability concerns.
Visit lakelandtimes.com to view a video of a tree being removed.
Jonathan Anderson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*To see a video of one of the trees coming down, follow this link.