- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Residents in Sherman Hill, Iowa, are upset after an oak tree, believe to be 100-years-old, was uprooted because of construction on a gas leak in the neighborhood.

The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/1KNWnnh) reports that the MidAmerican Energy company had been looking for a leak in the gas main. Company surveyors said they located the leak directly underneath the tree, which was removed on Tuesday.

MidAmerican spokesman Ashton Newman said other ways of dealing with the gas leak were considered, but it was determined that they would disrupt the neighborhood with more digging, interrupt services or affect other trees.

“The leak was directly under the tree, and it was therefore inaccessible without removing the tree,” Newman said.

Sonja Roberts, president of Perennial Properties - located just south of the tree- said she would have allowed MidAmerican to reroute the gas line through Perennial’s property had she known the tree would be marked for removal.

“We’ll never see another tree there in our lifetime that was as big and beautiful as that one,” Roberts said.

Des Moines City Councilman Skip Moore, the former municipal arborist, has called for an emergency meeting with city officials to discuss the process for removing trees. “They’re an asset to the city of Des Moines…and we need to respect that value and what the tree was doing for us that it’s no longer going to be,” Moore said.

Moore said the downed oak will likely be turned into mulch.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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