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Plans to remove old tree gets backlash from Spring Lake alumni | News

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Plans to remove old tree gets backlash from Spring Lake alumni

SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WZZM) -- There's a deep-rooted debate in Spring Lake over plans to knock down a century-old tree for a school construction project. The Spring Lake superintendent says plans to build a new car lane outside the middle and intermediate school building would improve traffic and safety.

Life often takes unpredictable turns, but the large Oak tree has been on the same path for at least a century. Currently, the tree is just outside the Spring Lake middle and intermediate school building.

"It's a real survivor," says Mark Miller, an alumni of the Spring Lake School District.

Now, the tree's survival is at a cross roads, as it stands in the middle of a planned construction project at the Spring Lake School District.

"I think it would be a real shame to take that down," says Miller.

Miller is a village council member and also co-chair of the local historic conservation commission. However, he told WZZM 13 he was speaking as alumni on the tree issue. He showed WZZM 13 his yearbook from 1977, which had a drawing of the tree on the inside.

"I just think some things need to be saved in this world and I never thought I'd be representing a tree or that tree, but here I am," says Miller.

Although the tree is only a short walk away from the school building, it is on village property, so the village council will have to decide if the plan moves forward.

"We're trying to get their approval and their OK to remove the tree," says Dennis Furton, Spring Lake Schools Superintendent.

Superintendent Furton says the plan is to build a drop-off and pick up lane to alleviate traffic-back ups and improve safety for students.

"I understand that tree has a sentimental value to Mr. Miller and to some other graduates of the school. We don't want to downplay or lessen that in any way. The reality is our work, the work that we've planned and designed is important work for the students today and into the future," says Superintendent Furton.

"I would like to see this tree incorporated into the plan, I think an architect could do that if they were asked to do it," says Miller.

Superintendent Furton says he's looked into alternatives, but they are pricey and they don't guarantee the tree would survive.

Superintendent Furton hopes council members will approve construction during their June 15th meeting. He wants the new car lane to be in place for the next school year.