The towering white fir tree near the gazebo in front of Monroe Town Hall has stood for over 50 years and appears in a painting by artist David Merrill on display in the building's lobby. But it's days are numbered. Damage sustained over time has spurred Tree Warden David Solek's decision to cut it down.
A red ribbon is tied around the trunk with a notification that it will be removed within 30 days.
"It might have been damaged during construction," Solek said Tuesday morning.
Bark is missing from a large area on one side of the trunk and Solek believes machinery had scraped it while going by. "It's probably connected to a root that's weakened," he said. "It's taller every year and we have to decide how far we want to go with this."
The tree is already leaning toward the entrance near the Masonic lodge next door, a place with a row of parking spaces. Solek said the primary concern is safety in the event that strong winds from a storm topples the tree.
"If this was in the middle of the woods, who cares, but there are a lot of potential targets here," Solek said.
He said the tree could last another 30 years or 30 days if left alone.
"We don't maintain the trees as well as we should," Solek said.
The tree warden also said trees are sometimes planted in the wrong places. For instance, he said pine trees are not good for the town hall campus. Because of the tight "V" formation of the branches, Solek said it tends to easily split apart, while "U" shaped formations tend to be more sturdy.