As a member of St. Mary's I must speak out. There has been a lot of outrage about the removal of the Bradford Pear trees along Eighth St. The "protesters" seem to be mainly non members.
First of all, the trees were not the right type to be planted in such a small area. They became too tall for the space and the falling leaves were lying on top of the church roof, causing damage. The trees on Spring St. were growing through the power lines. Additionally, the roots were encroaching on the water and sewer lines under the sidewalk and also damaging the sidewalk itself.
Yes, the steeple was taken down without the removal of any trees but it was cut into sections before removal and done under emergency circumstances. Duke energy would not allow the repaired steeple to be put into place from the Spring St. side because the crane would have to cross the power lines. The only solution would have been to shut down the entire grid during the process.
The only solution was to drive the crane over the sidewalk on Eighth St. and onto the side lawn. The trees were removed by St. Mary's and new more suitable trees will be planted in their place, also paid for by St. Mary's. The city was not charged a dime.
Irvin Stumler explained all of this at the city council meeting on May 20. He also attended every Mass over the weekend of May 22 and 23 and explained all of this to the church members. I talked to our church secretary after the 11:30 service and she said the calls made on the day of the tree removal were positive. Everyone understood the need for this and were glad that more suitable trees would be planted in replacement.