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Young trees vandalized in northeast Jamestown

Six trees that were planted this fall along 5th Avenue Northeast were vandalized in recent weeks. City Forester Sheri Steckler said the total cost to replace each tree is $1,110. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Six new trees planted along 5th Avenue Northeast leading to the entrance to the University of Jamestown will have to be replaced after vandals damaged the trees in recent weeks.

Sheri Steckler, city forester, said on Thursday she noticed the trees had either the entire crown broken off or half of the crown. The crown refers to the spread of branches at the top of a tree.

“These are smaller trees,” she said. “If kids are bending (the branches) or hanging on them, they could do this damage.”

Steckler said she knew as soon as she saw the trees that the damage done was caused by vandalism. She said she had Bob Martin, Pipestem Creek Dam manager who is also a member of the city’s shade tree committee, to look at the trees and he confirmed the damage was caused by vandalism.

Steckler said there were 50 trees planted along College Hill in the fall, trees that were purchased through a state of North Dakota Community Forestry grant. She said four species were planted and the labor and equipment for site preparation and some planting of the trees were done by city Street Department workers. The University of Jamestown hockey team and coaches and the UJ chaplain volunteered labor hours to plant and mulch the trees. Steckler said upon completion of the project and proof of in-kind or volunteer donations, the city will be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the total project cost.

Steckler said the total cost to replace all six of the damaged trees, including labor, is $1,110.

“The Jamestown city Forestry Department does not receive funds in its annual budget to purchase new trees,” she said, “let alone (have funds) for the replacement of trees lost to vandals.”

Steckler said anyone caught damaging trees on public property could be subject to prosecution for vandalism.

“I can only hope that all of our citizens appreciate the value of the limited resources we have and how important it is to protect them,” she said.

Anyone with information about who may have damaged the trees along College Hill may call the Jamestown Police Department at 252-2414.

(This article was corrected to state that the cost to replace all six damaged trees is $1,110, and not $1,110 per tree as initially stated.)

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454