Urbana council wants more info on tree memorial
URBANA — City council members said Monday night that they wanted more information before they agree to use up to $5,000 to memorialize a much-beloved tree that was taken down earlier this year after deteriorating to unsafe conditions.
The remains of the Sim Hackberry, as it's known, could be turned into a table, benches and sliced into a cross-section — the specific projects have yet to be selected.
The tree, believed to be well over 100 years old, was cut down to the anguish of some of the residents in the west Urbana neighborhood where it once stood after it was determined it could not be saved.
City arborist Mike Brunk said those residents have committed a few hundred dollars toward a memorial of some kind, but the city likely would have to put up some money, too.
City council members decided they wanted more input on where that money would come from and specifically what kind of projects would happen.
Mayor Laurel Prussing said city officials may be able to leverage some more donations by asking people to match city funds.
Alderman Mike Madigan, R-Ward 6, said he would like to see more private money.
"I don't see this being a wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars," Madigan said. "Trees are beautiful living things, but they're just that. They're living things, and when they die, they die."