Trees Near Oval Beach Entrance Area To Be Cut Down For Safety Considerations
Despite some concerns coming from the public, the trees at the spot where the proposed turnaround at Saugatuck Oval Beach parking lot entrance will be constructed will come down to make way for the project.
The Saugatuck City Council discussed the issue at Monday’s meeting, citing their priority was public safety, and thus, acted not to makes changes to the structure that was already approved last month.
“If this (Oval Beach) is a hallmark of Saugatuck, we need to make it a safe hallmark,” said Saugatuck City Council Member Jane Verplank.
Nevertheless, city leaders said they are far from forgetting their community has a fondness for trees. While a number of trees will be removed, officials have promised to replace them by planting new ones on either side of the turnaround, creating a flank.
They further noted that Saugatuck has been a Tree City USA for many years, which among other several prerequisites the federal program has for a sound urban forestry, includes maintaining a tree board, having a community tree ordinance and spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry.
The turnaround is part of a $330,000 project to completely reconstruct the beach’s parking lot, as the parking lot has not been subject to any improvements— besides general maintenance every now and then—in any major way for many decades, said city officials.
“It seems to me that as you go over the hill (the Perryman Street road slope on the way to Oval Beach) and come down, you want to be able to catch a glimpse of a beautiful place,” said Mayo Pro-Tem Ken Trester, in support of keeping the trees intact.
Not so, differed colleague Saugatuck Council Member Bill Hess.
“As you go down to the beach, you should see the lake,” he said, referring to how the existing trees block the view.
Either way, keeping the trees would require a major modification of the already approved plan because it would entail moving the actual existent parking entrance so as to accommodate the trees and position the turnaround accordingly.
“That is not economically feasible,” explained Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier about the possibility of reconfiguring the site.
The major topic for the city is safety: vehicles, especially large ones, require an appropriate space to turn around in (particularly for an immediate turnaround upon entry) so as not to present any danger to beachgoers or other vehicles.