Dead Trees in Dundee Set to Go, New Ones Set to Come

By: Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) - The planning part of a 3-year renovation project in the Dundee area is done. Now the construction part is set to start this weekend. The first phase is cutting down the trees.

For 30 years Molly Romero has managed a popular restaurant in a popular neighborhood--Marks Bistro in Dundee.

A building-size tree that has been there the whole time will be cut down soon.

"This isn't about what it's going to look like today or tomorrow," Romero, who is the co-owner of Marks Bistro, said.

Romero is the president of the Dundee Memorial Park Association. She said the trees that decorate 50th street in Dundee are in poor health.

"We're going to be planting a variety of trees instead of a single species of trees," she continued. "Which is what was done the last time this was done."

Romero said the space provide for the trees when they were planted 30 years ago was too small. As a result, the trees have outgrown the space and are lifting bricks off the sidewalks.

Some residents like Jesse Hapke and Joseph Costello felt the new trees will take years to grow and make the area look beautiful.

"If they're dying then they need to be cut and replanted," Hapke said. "But not in order to facilitate a widening of the street do in the area said eliminating trees all together."

Council member Pete Festersen said the tree removal is one part of the $2.5 million renovation.

At the end of April, crews will resurface the sidewalks and streets.

"You can look around and see that these sidewalks," Dundee resident, Matt Brown said. "They're not very leveled in some parts and need to be, you know, resurfaced."

Parking, landscaping and more of the historic globe lighting will be added.

Festersen and other supporters said this project will make the Dundee area more pedestrian friendly.

"It's an attempt to stay within the Dundee character," Romero said.

"I'm a little surprised that people would look at it and think that it is modern or hip because I think of it as just a renovation of the classic Dundee."

The trees will be removed Friday or Saturday. Romero wanted to remind people that what makes Dundee an enjoyable community are the businesses, which will stay.

Festersen encouraged people to attend upcoming public meetings. A committee will be established through the neighborhood association to decide on a new tree selection, plants and landscaping when the project begins later this month.