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Loss of trees downtown is a poor choice

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

I walked to Baker Street Cafe on the first block of West First Street, downtown Dixon, and struggled through the construction debris. Work is progressing very quickly.

They decided to put diagonal parking on the KSB side of the street. Fine, downtown needs more parking.

But to do so, they cut down five or six 30-year-old honey locust trees – beautiful, mature trees that provided shade and helped hide the ugly KSB building that gutted an entire square block of lovely buildings when it was built. No trees will be planted to replace them, apparently.

First Street, the prime downtown shopping street of Dixon, is now devoid of trees, except for one lone locust tree at the corner of Hennepin. That is now the only street tree the whole length of First Street all the way to the ICRR arch.

Take a look. It’s an unfriendly scene of blistering sun and asphalt and concrete.

European cities are charming, partly because of their street trees, which Europeans value and care for. In Dixon, it seems the city and Dixon Parks consider trees a nuisance because they require some care and pruning.

We leave our urban design to the engineers who obviously understand concrete and steel, but clearly lack urban landscape sensibility. A good example of this neglect is Heritage Crossing waterfront. There are no shade trees, and the midday sun radiation there is insupportable. 

Sacrifice healthy trees to pour concrete for parking? Poor priority. No urban vision.

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