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Blackfoot starts precaution plan with trees

By Bre Clark
Published On: Dec 12 2013 09:57:19 PM CST

Blackfoot City Council met Wednesday to talk tree plans and hazard prevention.

BLACKFOOT, Idaho -

Trees in Blackfoot are causing a bit of confusion. Some businesses want them cut down, but certain residents aren't having it.

Blackfoot City Council met Wednesday night to come up with some options to make both sides happy. Papa Murphy's along with other businesses on Bergener Boulevard, Blackfoot's main drag, said the trees are too tall and cover their signs. They have asked the city to cut them down or at least a few branches. On the other hand, residents said the trees are needed to keep Blackfoot beautiful.

Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue said they have considered both sides and understand why people would want to save the trees.

"We're trying to look at all aspects to make sure safety and security issues are dealt with, as well as the aesthetics to try and have a plan. A plan that says, 'Here's what were going to do: We're going to do it in phases and replace it with trees that are appropriate and can still be decorated.' A lot of people like these trees because at Christmas time we decorate them and they really add to the ambiance when you come into town," said Virtue.

Also at the meeting Wednesday, Blackfoot council members met with the owner of Whisper Mountain Professional Services, Rick Fawcett, to discuss hazard mitigation plans.

The plan examines the potential for disasters across Bingham County. The plan is used to reduce long-term risk to lives and property. The biggest concern that Blackfoot faces is flooding, particularly where Interstate 15 parallels the Snake River. Fawcett said the man-made channel could lead to major damages.

"The channel over the years has accumulated gravel and filth in such a manner that it has increased the flood risk for the city of Blackfoot. Once we come out of this drought cycle that we're in, the potential is here again for flooding through that section of the river," he said.

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