- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

GREENSBURG, Ind. (AP) - An inspection has found that the iconic tree growing from the courthouse clock tower in southeastern Indiana is healthy and growing.

An arborist checked out the 9-foot-tall mulberry tree that sprouts from the tower’s roof as part of an assessment last summer of Decatur County’s 1860 courthouse. The report was presented to county officials this week.

The current tree is about 50 years old and both it and the courthouse are in good shape, county commissioners President John Richards told the Greensburg Daily News (http://bit.ly/1MpRgP6 ).

The courthouse tree has long been a symbol and tourist attraction for the community, with the first tree sprouting from the tower in downtown Greensburg around 1870. Local officials believe the current tree is the 14th tree to grow from the clock tower.

The inspection’s pressing concern about the tree’s future was possible damage from a lightning strike since the tower’s lightning protection cable runs across the tree trunk. The arborist’s suggestion was to move the wire so it is no longer in contact with the tree.

Inspectors from United Consulting and Arsee Engineering recommended several structural repairs for the courthouse totaling as much as $1.25 million, including work to the building’s limestone exterior. Richards said the tree evaluation was an important part of the $50,000 building assessment.

“My biggest thing we want people to know is the reason we’re doing this (study) is for the people of this community who love that tree,” he said.

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Information from: Greensburg Daily News, http://www.greensburgdailynews.com

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