Holland Park bringing down trees; offering firewood

Henry Vollmer stands at the future site of a splash pad that will open by next summer near the log cabin at Holland Park .




HOLLAND — Through traffic at Holland Park will be blocked this weekend and the park will be closed to the public. But a welcome mat will be out for those community-minded souls not averse to picking up branches and twigs.

And anyone with a chain saw and a penchant for burning firewood will hit the jackpot.

Holland’s shaded park at 904 N. Meridian St. is blessed with its share of ash trees, but because of the destructive wood-boring emerald ash borer, many are among 60 or so trees to be cut down.

“There are a couple of oaks that are bad but most of them are ash,” says councilwoman and park board member Melanie Barrett.

Ash trees marked with white Xs were assessed as dead or dying by a forestry agent, according to Barrett. Due to safety concerns involving the park’s roads, playgrounds and walking paths, trees must come down.

“It’s a huge project,” Barrett says. “They are large trees.”

Holland contacted several lumber companies and mills and was told the market is flooded and the trees coming down have no value — except as firewood.

Volunteers are being asked to come to the park between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and between noon and 5 p.m. Sunday to help clear and haul off branches. Volunteers bringing chain saws to help bring down trees are welcome to keep the firewood they cut.

The park board plans to furnish soups, snacks and drinks.

Barrett adds that, because of safety issues and large equipment blocking roads, the park has to be closed to the public.

The park board plans to replace the cleared trees with 25 new, 8-foot-tall trees of various hardwood species. Barrett says those replacements will be planted the week after Thanksgiving.

“That is the very best time to plant trees,” Barrett says. A nursery owner said sap will be lower in the fall and the new trees will not have to be watered as much.

“We’ve already planted 12 evergreens early this year,” Barrett says. “We had to water them constantly. They are doing well. We put them in the campground.”

Earlier this month, trees were cleared beside a log cabin in the park to prepare that site for the addition of a $160,000 splash pad. Fundraising that started in July is still ongoing for that next feature, which is expected to be in place before next summer.

“When the children come up,” Barrett said, “they’ll hit a button.”

A section of the 24-unit splash pad will then come on for 6 to 8 minutes, with the sections alternating with each button push.

Playground equipment that had been near the cabin was moved to the campground area.

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