RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – What may be the oldest oak on Overbrook Road should be cut down and removed. The problem is when?
"It's coming down the end of August...then the guy told me a week in November. The tree is still here," said Richmond homeowner Nancy Anderson.
Roots from the city owned tree, pushed under cement causing the sidewalk to buckle outside Nancy's home. A fallen tree limb crushed her steps.
"Yea, a limb fell and broke the step. It broke my cement iron rails off too. If somebody come fall on my steps, I'll be in trouble," she said.
Her grand children help her down. Falling is her big concern.
The unsafe, unsightly, broken steps and buckled sidewalk are an inconvenience -- she sometimes uses her neighbor's property, than risk injury on her own.
A city arborist determined the oak is diseased. The 'X' mark indicates it's on a list for planned tree removals.
"The man came. He was on the step one day. I said, 'Oh, you come to fix my steps.' He said, 'No. We're going cut down your tree this week.' I said, 'Oh good, you're going to finally cut that tree down.' I haven't seen him since." Nancy said.
We asked the city about expediting the tree removal.
"We know that it's a bad tree it is. But it is not in jeopardy of crashing into her house or hurting anyone. If there are any areas that will…then certainly when we look at it we will remove those," said Sharon North, Public Information Manager for Public Works.
Richmond will pay to repair her steps but, Nancy has to submit an estimate from a private contractor and make a formal claim with the city attorney.
"It would help a lot because I could go up and down by myself, and wouldn't have to worry about people falling or the tree falling," she said.
The city's plan now, is to continue pruning, the big oak, in light of the city's tight budget. There are roughly 100 trees marked for removal, the city is only taking down trees that are threatening.