The city has decided to uproot the Crape Myrtle trees on Main Street in Downtown Duluth and replace them with canopy shade trees.
The crape myrtles block merchant storefronts and signs, Duluth City Manager Tim Shearer told the City Council at its Dec. 10 meeting. Canopy trees would improve visibility of the shops and signage, Shearer said. The leaves and flowers the crape myrtles drop also make it difficult to keep sidewalks clean.
Shearer reported that most of the Main Street merchants he had talked to indicated they would like to see the crape myrtles replaced. A couple would like the existing trees to remain, he said.
The council authorized amending the city budget in an amount up to $4,500 for removing the crape myrtles, purchasing new trees and planting them. The money for the project will come from the Landscaping/Tree Fund.
The city has received three bids of $1,100, $1,200 and $2,250 for tree removal. Audrey Turner, director of the Duluth Public Works Department, said one of the bidders would be selected to do the job.
Nine replacement trees would cost $200 per tree delivered for a total of $1,800. Installation would be $100 per tree ($900). A contingency of $700 was added in case any problems were encountered.
The Public Works Department trimmed several of the crape myrtle trees during the summer by order of Shearer.