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Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

Est. 2014

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50 new trees to be planted at the site of the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial

50 new trees to be planted at the site of the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial

The Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial Committee is embarking on a new initiative to improve the treescape around the downtown landmark.

Crews will begin work on Wednesday to replace the existing monoculture of maple trees with five different species of trees. The work — which involves the planting of 50 new trees — will coincide with the fifth annual Saluting Branches, a national effort in support of veterans.

"This is another example of the community working together to maintain the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial for future generations and to ensure that this memorial will always be a reminder of how thankful we are for the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms,” said Lon Hebl, president of the memorial committee [via a news release from the city].

The memorial committee will pay for the new trees, as well as the ongoing maintenance, which is performed by the Rochester Park and Recreation Department. That is because while the site is owned by the city, the memorial itself relies mainly on private donations.

“The SFVM committee has raised funds to not only build this wonderful memorial, they have also raised funds and have endowed such to support the annual maintenance of the facility,” said Mike Nigbur, who heads up the park and forestry division for Rochester Parks and Rec. “This fabulous partnership has enabled the community to have a premier memorial rivaling national monuments which honor our local military personnel,”

For the removal of trees and grinding of stumps, Maier Tree has agreed to chip in and help coordinate local tree contractors for machinery and labor. Once that work is done, Sargent’s Gardens will plant the new trees.

City officials said the effort will provide an opportunity to replace trees that have died over the years, while also improving the diversity of species on the site. According to the city announcement, having a monoculture of trees is not ideal and makes the site susceptible to pest pressure.

The species chosen to replace the maples include Northern Red Oak, Autumn Splendor Buckeye, Sienna Glen Maple, Northern Catalpa, and Honey Locust.

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.

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