Provo residents, officials discuss fate of trees on University Avenue

Posted at 10:03 PM, Aug 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-24 00:03:52-04

PROVO, Utah – As many as 87 trees along University Avenue in Provo could be coming down as the city makes plans to expand, and some residents are unhappy about the prospect.

Deelee Spears works along University Avenue and is among those who hopes the trees remain in place.

“I would hate to see the trees leave,” Spears said. “They bring life, they bring color.”

John Curtis, Provo Mayor, said plans to expand mass transit in Provo could mean the end of the trees.

“I think we'll be under construction in maybe a year, year and a half,” he said. “…We've gotta add two full lanes into that street.”

Curtis said they have to keep up with the growth of the city.

“We're gonna double in size as a county in the next 20 years, and there’s no way we can build enough roads to double in size, so we've got to figure out mass transit,” he said.

The design for the street isn’t complete, so it isn’t clear if the trees would have to come down. But some nearby residents have placed ribbons around the trees to draw attention to the issue and show their support for keeping the plants in place.

“When I try to imagine them being gone, it would really take an important element away from the scenery here,” resident Stephen Graham said.

Curtis said even if the city needs the space, the trees may be spared.

“We don't want to lose any trees,” he said. “Nobody wants to lose any trees. I think when we get into the final design, if we feel like we are going to lose some trees, that we need to actually band together and come up with the money to move the trees.”

Provo residents will have the opportunity to comment on the on the issue before final designs are approved, Curtis said.