Where to turn if the emerald ash borer hits your neighborhood

(WTHI Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)  The emerald ash borer keeps taking a toll on Indianapolis area trees. 24-Hour News 8 detailed the destruction done by the bug over the past few years.

However, what happens when a neighborhood is hit hard. Who is responsible for taking down the dead trees or will the city help?  That was the dilemma faced by those in the Greenbriar neighborhood on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

It was while walking with his wife in Greenbriar that Anthony Lorenz  realized something was wrong.

“We started noticing the dead trees and then it dawned on us they were the same kind of dead tree in the right away,” Lorenz says.

In an eight month time period, using a neighborhood map, Lorenz and his wife documented nearly 100 dead or dying ash trees sitting in city right of ways.

“Thirty-six of them are completely dead. And by that I mean the leaves are all gone.  And the other 63 or so, are 50-75% dead,” he says.

Because there were so many, Lorenz hoped the city would pay to take them down. So in August, he contacted the mayor’s action center.

“They got it in their request system. And it’s open. And the status right now is to send an arborist out to look at it,” says Lorenz.

According to Department of Public Works spokesperson Stephanie Wilson, Lorenz did the right thing. The city is responsible for trees in the right of way.

“So the first step is calling or emailing the mayor’s action center.” she told 24-Hour News 8.

But because there are thousands of dead trees in the city, Wilson says cut them down will be prioritized. She said those that pose a public safety issue are handled immediately. The rest are taken as they get to them. For those in the neighborhoods that can mean an unwanted wait.

“Sooner or later these trees as they die and the roots start to collapse, a couple of them are going to start falling. And something’s going to happen,” Lorenz says.

Anyone who has a dead or dying tree, remember, it has to be in the city right of way, that’s the piece of land nearest the street, before the city will cut it down. Once someone has made a request, an arborist will be sent out to determine if the tree is a safety hazard. Ironically, Anthony Lorenz doesn’t have any ash trees on his property. His concern is for the rest of the neighborhood.

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