Costly Tree Troubles for Memphis and Airport

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(Memphis)  Workers hired by the city are accused of accidentally killing more than three hundred trees planted to beautify the airport area since it’s one of the first places people see in Memphis.

Now, they are asking for tens of thousands of dollars to replace them.

The city planted trees on Plough Road to clean up the area around the airport in anticipation of an airport world conference in 2011.

It was a million and a half dollar project.

Two years later, ten percent of the trees are dead.

“It appears that some herbicide had been used to control weeds along that area. That may have affected some of the plantings in that area,” said Memphis’engineering director John Cameron.

Cameron says a few trees will always die when you plant over three thousand trees like the city did but to lose this many is uncommon.

“There might have been some mishandling of the trees by the sub-contractor, so that might be a portion of them,” said Cameron.

Omega General Contractors planted the trees and says the city wanted them planted before they should have been.

The city asked Barnes and Browner Contractors to quote a price for replacement trees.

They estimate it will cost $150,000 dollars to replace them.

Julie Ellis is with the Memphis Chamber and Aerotroplois and says the money is there and approved, so it’s time to replace the trees no matter the cost, “We, as Memphians, need to be aware of what our airport area looks like, because those airlines are not going to serve our city, if we don`t care about our city ourselves.”

Several city council members tell News Channel 3 it may be a good idea to split the cost of the replacement three ways between the city, airport and contractor.