West, Entergy to discuss tree trimming

Published 2:01 am Thursday, April 24, 2008

NATCHEZ — Mayor Phillip West will meet with representatives from Entergy today to discuss tree trimming in downtown Natchez.

West and Entergy Customer Service Manager Stephen Caruthers said they’ve received a high number of phone calls about the trees.

Citizens have said they feel like the trimming is compromising the aesthetics of old and stately trees.

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Natchez residents Doug Mauro and Eugenie Cates said the trees are being cut nearly in half, or having large chunks scooped out of the middle leaving “U” or “L” shaped trees.

“It’s such an insult to cut a tree like that and leave it,” Mauro said. “They’re just creating an eyesore.”

Stephen Caruthers, Entergy customer service manager, said the trimmers are doing their jobs in cutting back from the power lines and are aware that downtown trees should be handled with care.

“Entergy is aware that this is the downtown historical area and we want to maintain its beauty,” Caruthers said.

But most importantly, Entergy wants to maintain its services, Caruthers said, and tree limbs can prevent that.

Cates said she fears some of the trees have been cut in a way that makes them unsafe.

“If a big wind comes up those trees are going to fall on homes, people, cars,” she said.

Caruthers said in trimming, safety is certainly taken into consideration.

“If they were cutting a tree and it was a dead tree or a rotten tree or diseased, we wouldn’t be trimming to those specs,” he said. “We would probably be removing the tree or asking the homeowner to remove the tree.”

Cates said perhaps the power lines could be moved underground and then tree trimming would never be an issue.

Caruthers said that would be highly costly to the city.

“The cost of putting (lines) underground is extremely expensive these days,” he said.

“With Natchez downtown being older, it would be a mystery in trying to dig and find what’s under the streets. I don’t see that happening because of the expense of it, and it’s just not practical.”

West’s meeting will include Robert Clarke, the overall supervisor of tree trimming for Entergy, who is driving down from Jackson to take a ride around the city.

West said hopefully some compromises can be made.

“I’m quite sure some of the tree trimmings may be disfiguring (the trees) and we’re concerned about that,” West said. “We want to balance with the aesthetics of the trees, especially the historic area and throughout the city.”

“We’re going to make sure they’re more sensitive with what they do and how they do it.”