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Streets to close for tree removal project

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Priscilla and Edward Gibson walk past this tagged Bradford pear tree along this section of East Main Street in Front Royal. The town plans to remove seven of the trees on Monday because they are creating safety hazards. Rich Cooley/Daily

Some Bradford pears have reached their maturity, creating safety hazards

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Originally scheduled for earlier this month, the removal of seven Bradford pear trees from Main Street will take place Monday.

The project will result in temporary closings on Main Street that day. According to a public notice sent out by the Front Royal Department of Public Works, Main Street will be closed between Church and Chester streets from 6 to 10 a.m., and will be closed between Crescent and Church streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anne Rose, the town's horticulture supervisor, said the trees have reached their maturity and are creating safety hazards, like buckling sidewalks and large amounts of the small fruit the trees produce.

Bradford pears can be identified by their white blossoms that often appear before their leaves. With a relatively short life span of 25 to 30 years, the replacement project is necessary.

The department held a forum Friday to discuss the project and answer any questions from concerned residents.

"I think it went really well," Rose said, adding that people were initially upset because they were afraid the large trees would be replaced with new ones that were much smaller.

"With any change there's going to be a 'wow' factor ... things will look different," she said. The trees should be replaced by late spring, she said, and with the largest stock she can find.

Rose said the town's beautification committee has already paid for the new trees, and the project has been in the Front Royal's budget for quite some time, with the first three Bradford pears removed in 2007.

"The whole idea is safety," Rose said.

Anyone with questions about the project can contact Rose at 635-7819. Program information can also be found at the town's Visitors Center at 414 E. Main St. until Monday.

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