Public debate continues regarding the removal of all trees from in front of the Richland County Administration Building, 50 Park Ave. East, in downtown Mansfield.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask the Richland Source newsroom to investigate a question.

MANSFIELD -- Tulip poplar trees in front of the Richland County Administration Building are being removed this week for safety reasons and as part of an overall beautification plan, according to county commissioners.

"The commissioners decided to remove the large tulip poplar trees for the purposes of pedestrian safety stemming from large limbs falling down during storms and periods of high winds," Commissioner Tony Vero said. "Their removal is part of a beautification plan presently taking place in the building, which involves planting new trees as part of the plan that are more suitable for regular foot traffic leading into our building."

The tree removal will also help facilitate the placement of a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in front of the administration building and landscaping planned to compliment the lawn at 50 Park Ave. East.

The work was approved by the Mansfield Shade Tree Commission in a March 18 letter signed by Chairman Josh Maurer, Michael Henry, Doug Versaw and David Remy, the city's public works director.

"The Commission has approved your request for immediate removal of the tulip poplars and looks forward to seeing thew transformation based your plan," the Shade Tree Commission wrote. "The Commission members will gladly offer any assistance in helping choose the appropriate trees as you begin your design if you desire their services.

"(Trees in an urban setting such as the downtown are a bit different than in neighborhoods, including choosing trees which aid in the deterrent of roosting birds)."

The Shade Tree Commission also wrote it's important to stay away from certain trees due to the invasive species list, which some ornamentals have been added to in recent times.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"