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Asheville muni saving some trees in revamp

Asheville muni saving some trees in revamp

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Tree removal is underway at the historic Asheville Municipal Golf Course, and the number of trees on the chopping block is down from 157 to 111 following action by area environmentalists and neighbors, many of whom protested the removal of the white pine, oak, cherry and more, some of which are centuries old.

Nancy Casey, a 15-year Beverly Hills resident and environmentalist, was among those that urged the city to reconsider.

Chris Corl, the city’s director of Community and Regional Entertainment Facilities, floated the initial plan to remove 157 trees at a December Urban Forestry Commission meeting, an action staff says is necessary for essential renovations to the course, improvements to golf play and longevity of existing trees.

This number was already a decrease from initial U.S. Golf Association tree evaluation and report, which suggested 500-plus trees for removal.

Previous coverage: 157 trees recommended for removal at Asheville Municipal Golf Course

Environmentalists weigh in

Following the meeting, in deference to community concerns, Corl brought in a third Tree Risk Assessment Qualification certified arborist to review the course, and walked all 18-holes of the course with several community groups, including representatives from MountainTrue, a Western North Carolina environmental nonprofit, and Casey. Mark Foster, city arborist, also reviewed the course with what Corl called a “tighter scope.”

In these examinations, some trees came off the list entirely, some were added and others were set for pruning only, a list that rose to 83 from the initial estimate of 38.

“I like to think we found a really good middle ground between saving as many trees as we could, while still moving forward to help the course as it is intended, as a golf course,” Corl said.

Related from Asheville Citizen-Times: Higher rates? Fairway improvements? Public meets new Asheville Muni Golf Course operators

The tree removal and pruning project was bid and awarded by the course’s new operators, Commonwealth Golf Partners II – Asheville LLC, who selected Asheville-based Green Outdoors Landscaping to take on the project with a $143,151 contract.

The sprawling, 122-acre course in the East Asheville neighborhood of Beverly Hills was designed by Hall of Fame golf architect Donald Ross and opened for play in 1927. It is home to the longest running Black-owned and operated professional tournament in the country.

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