Replanting Parkersburg's trees - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Replanting Parkersburg's trees

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PARKERSBURG (KWWL) - The town of Parkersburg is still struggling to rebuild after the F-5 tornado that struck in May.  While indoor work is moving fast on many homes and businesses, outdoor planning is a little slower.  However, community members continue to work on how to replant the city's trees. In the days, weeks, and months since the May 25th tornado, the work has continued to get homes and businesses rebuilt but so has the work to get the town looking a little more like it did before the storm - with trees.

"As the trees come up, that will have a huge psychological impact as well because as you come up the hill going west, it's so empty in the sky because nothing's there," said Valerie Thorne.

Thorne co-chairs the Parkersburg Tree Board.  It was created last summer as part of the town's rebuilding efforts.  Her group is trying to best determine how to bring the trees back.

"You can't replant a 100 year old oak tree so it's a matter of coming up with ways we can vision and say this is what it looks like now, what it'll look like 5 years down the road, 10 years, 20 years, 100 years," said Thorne.

In the short term, the board is working with ISU Extension, MidAmerican Energy, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to best determine what will grow where.

"There's been so much construction and heavy equipment from all the debris removal that the soil is very compacted and we have clay so down deep, it's horribly compacted and trees don't like that," said Thorne.

Thorne says buildings and homes being rebuilt need the trees for shade.  She says they'll also be reminders of the city's resurgence.

"Part of what we want to do is make Parkersburg reflect on the outside what Parkersburg is on the inside," said Thorne.

February 19th, a community meeting on residential landscape planning will be held at the Christian Reformed Church for Parkersburg residents.

For more information, click here.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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