Damaged trees removed from Harrisonburg being repurposed

Published: Aug. 23, 2018 at 6:17 PM EDT
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After removing roughly 90 trees that were damaged by an invasive beetle since May 2017, the city of Harrisonburg is partnering with Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance to repurpose those trees.

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation officials say they've been working on this program for about a year. If a tree has to come down because of age, insect damage or disease, they say they're using the wood for city projects.

The emerald ash borer destroys ash trees, which make up about 20 percent of the trees in Harrisonburg parks.

HDR purchased wood from the torn down trees for $8 to make three conference tables.

"The conference table is where the magic happens," said Andrea Dono, executive director for HDR. "It's where we bring people together, and we talk about challenges and opportunities and ideas. And we're a community-based organization, so having a special place and a special table for us is really meaningful."

City officials say they're happy to keep the wood out of the landfill and do something positive with it.

"These trees are not being taken down for the sole use of lumber," said Jeremy Harold, park superintendent. "These trees have to come down for whatever reason. So in the city, we are replanting a tree for a tree that needs to come down."

More than 45 trees have been planted so far, and 145 more are scheduled to be planted in the fall. To diversify the city's urban forests, they're planting a variety of native species of trees.