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HUMBOLDT – “Sidewalks are a major burden on trees,” Cole Herder told Humboldt Council members Monday night.

The city will replace 10-12 trees, including some that have already been replaced.Photo by Susan Lynn / Iola Register

A particular challenge are the trees planted along Bridge Street on the north side of the square, said city administrator Herder.

“They just keep dying. Even in times of drought, they are always wet,” he said. Between 10 and 12 trees need to be replaced. Herder noted that some of the trees to be replaced “have already been replaced several times before.”

“We can’t dry out the trapped soil under the sidewalk on the north side,” Herder said, explaining the problem. “The holes never dry out. You can reach in and get mud out all year round.”

An underground irrigation system supplies the trees with water. “But on the north side it is never turned on,” said Herder.

Humboldt has been renovating its downtown sidewalks over the past 10 years. Local businessmen Walter Wulf of Monarch Cement and Joe Works of B&W Trailer Hitches have been instrumental in the redesign, including planting lime trees along the sidewalks.

“Each of them has taken on one block every year for five years” and planted about six trees per block, Herder said Tuesday morning. In the 10 blocks, some have more trees than others, depending on the companies’ preferences, he said.

Herder said the trees could “cause problems on the street because linden trees can grow up to 60 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide. So they’re going to be really big trees.” The city is considering replacing the fallen trees with the Frans Fontaine tree, a slender, columnar tree better suited to moist soils, suggested by Chris Wehlage of SEK Landscape in Chanute, who was hired for the task. A state forester also recommended the tree. Herder said the forester is writing a publication on streetscapes and uses Humboldt’s situation in his materials.

Herder estimated that replacing the trees would cost $12,000.

Herder recognized the “great gift” of Wulf and Works for the streetscape.

“Now we must preserve this gift,” he said.

After a long discussion, the council members agreed.

A NEW car wash is scheduled to open Aug. 1, “if the weather stays dry longer,” said Yates Center owner Kyle Owens.

The car wash, 312 N. Ninth, is located at the intersection of Ninth and Central, just north of Pete’s Convenience Store.

Currently, the construction site is a large concrete area, but “the block building should be finished by the end of the week,” Owens said, with machinery installed by July 4.

Owens said he has been resurfacing the sidewalk on the south side of the property and asked the city to “help him out” by replacing about 70 feet of sidewalk along Central Street, the city’s main thoroughfare.

Herder said the job should cost about $3,000.

This will be Humboldt’s first automated car wash, Herder said, and therefore it will use “quite a bit more water than the previous car wash,” contributing to both the city’s utility funds and its sales tax revenue.

The council members gave their seal of approval.

Council member Sunny Shreeve noted that the council’s decision to help a private company in this way sets “a precedent” and therefore should be discussed further on whether a policy should be developed to that effect.

Police Chief Shannon Moore introduced Lt. Jacob Schuetz to members of the Humboldt Council on Monday evening as the newest member of the force. Terry McDonald is also in the starting blocks and will be joining HPD on July 1.Photo by Susan Lynn

JACOB SCHUETZ is a new lieutenant with the Humboldt Police Department. Schuetz and his wife have three children, ages 5, 3 and 1, and currently live in Iola.

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