Let me start out with my experience upon coming to Galax for the first time.
My wife and I bought Dr. Dannelly’s old house without ever visiting Galax. Our thoughts were simple — if we didn’t like the town, we could fix up this beautiful old house, thereby doing something good for the community, and we could move on. Alternatively, if we liked the community, we could stay and run a bed and breakfast and live out our days here.
We flew into Charlotte and drove up 89 into town. As we drove down our picturesque Main Street, we felt like we had found a new home. What made us feel that way was the beauty created by the tree-lined Main Street.
As I read The Gazette, I felt sick to my stomach. The removal of the trees on Main Street would decimate the character of the downtown and destroy what I feel is the biggest tourist attraction we have. I can understand the concern with sidewalk upheaval and infrastructure damage, but I also understand that the solution does not have to be catastrophic, which I believe this is.
My first question would be whether a landscape architect has been contacted for recommendations, and has an arborist been contacted to determine what can be done as far as root pruning. I have performed sidewalk replacement projects as the owner of Bremmer Construction Inc., which did not require tree removal, but rather an installation of a root barrier.
I do not want to sound like the new guy in town with all the answers who is telling lifelong residents how to run their town. I would like to offer what I feel is a common-sense solution. Looking at our downtown trees, I believe that installing root barrier (deeproot.com/products/root-barrier/) with the consultation of an arborist could be utilized to save some trees. Where trees must be removed, I would suggest replacing them with a minimum 3” caliper tree that sits below the surface with a tree grate (ironagegrates.com/product-category/tree-grates/), root barrier and deep root irrigation.
I would not remove all the trees at once, but would embark upon a 10-year master plan to replace 10% each year, so as to maintain the character of our town.
Alternatively, Silva Cells (deeproot.com/products/silva-cell/) could be utilized to help with stormwater and treatment, thereby offering another avenue for potential grant money.
I would be glad to donate my time to help in any way that I can, and I am sure that others who are equally passionate about saving our trees would be willing to donate their time in order to help, as well.
I would ask that a special session be held so the community can come together and discuss this before any more trees are removed.