The Overland Park Community Development Committee voted Wednesday to recommend approval of a $980,000 bid for the removal of 2,434 ash trees. Photo via City of Overland Park.
Overland Park is one step closer to cutting down thousands of ash trees to counter the effects of the invasive emerald borer beetle.
The Overland Park Community Development Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend approval of a $980,000 bid with Mississippi contractor Looks Great Services to remove 2,434 trees on the public right-of-way around the city.
The removal will be concentrated in 12 neighborhoods
According to city filings, here are the neighborhoods that will be the focus of ash removal:
- Beverly Estates and Beverly Hills
- Antioch/87th Corridor
- Oak Park and Oak Park Manor
- Kensington Manor
- Regency lake
- Hampton Place
- Blackthorne property
- The desert and the desert valley
- Indian Creek Estates
Maps identifying which specific trees would be removed in each of these neighborhoods can be found here.
“They are places where I’ve already done some large-scale removal efforts, or I just have clear tree hot spots on the inspection list,” Overland Park forester Bailey Patterson told the committee on Wednesday.
Trees on private property will not be removed
- The plan is to remove all ash trees in the public streets of these neighborhoods.
- Patterson said residents would be notified with hangers seven to 10 days before the removal process began in their neighborhood.
- Once all of the ash trees were removed from a subdivision, Looks Great Services would return a few weeks later to grind up stumps and plant grass seed.
- Even after these trees are removed, Patterson said the city will still have about 6,000 ash trees that will need to be removed in the future.
Overland Park to use federal funds for the project
- The committee approved the use of American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds for the removal of the ash tree.
- Funds from APRA, the nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package signed by President Biden in 2021, can be directed towards a variety of city spending, according to the Government Finance Officers’ Association.
- Patterson said that without the additional funding from ARPA, the city would only be able to remove up to 500 ash trees a year on its current operating budget.
- “At that rate, with about 8,000 [ash trees] left, it would take 15 years to remove those trees,” Patterson said. “And at the rate they’re declining, that’s not sustainable.”
The removal could begin as early as March
- First, however, the bid must receive final approval from Overland Park City Council before the city’s contract with Looks Great Services can be finalized.
- The contractor’s goal, Patterson said, is to have all the ash trees cut down in about four months after starting.
- New trees from the city-approved street tree species list would then be planted this fall to replace the ash trees.
Go deeper: Overland Park steps up efforts to cut down damaged ash trees