FARMINGTON — Selectmen voted Tuesday to take down a damaged pine tree on Broadway and replace it with an elm.

The 70-foot white pine next to the former movie theater was likely struck by lightning, Town Manager Richard Davis said. It is damaged about halfway up the trunk, he said.

“The top half could fail structurally under strong wind,” Davis said. “The arborist said he would not want his family to sleep under it.”

Selectman Matthew Smith said he believes the tree is probably hollow from top to bottom.

Selectmen discussed the tree at their previous meeting when Conservation Committee members Sally Speich and Patty Cormier talked about a Farmington Arbor Day event planned for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at the Old North Church. Cormier, a forester, said the tree should come down.

At that time, selectmen discussed having the trunk carved into an artistic feature.

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Davis said Tuesday that it would be difficult to come up with a carving that would appeal to everyone.

“It is a beloved tree, but it is an extreme safety issue,” Davis said. “We have an obligation to ensure public safety.”

He is getting estimates on removing the tree.

“I’m ready to let it go,” Selectman Stephan Bunker said. “It would be negligent not to.”

Selectman Scott Landry suggested replacing it with an elm and the board agreed.

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Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis shows photos of a damaged pine tree on Broadway to selectmen Tuesday. The board voted to remove it.

Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis shows photos of a damaged pine tree on Broadway to selectmen Tuesday. The board voted to remove it.


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