By Ben Olson
The Sandpoint Senior Center (SASi) has announced they will make a first leap forward in beginning the parking lot project. Friday morning, two of the three trees in the lot—a western larch and smaller ponderosa pine—will be cut down.
The “SASi Elder Tree,” a 140-year-old ponderosa pine which was saved from destruction last month, will remain in place thanks to some quick reorganization and planning after members of the public announced their support for keeping it.
There will be a “Gratefulness Blessing” event held at the parking lot Thursday at 5:30 p.m. It will be an opportunity to express feelings about the smaller trees and learn more about the entire parking lot project and the progress that is happening.
“It’s an impromptu type of thing,” said Ellen Weissman, Executive Director of SASi. “Some people have been wanting to say goodbye to the trees. It’s a way to acknowledge their presence and thank them for being here and say goodbye.”
According to Weissman, the two smaller trees will be removed to make room for a westerly entrance to the parking lot, and for more parking spaces.
“We will be replacing them with four smaller trees right away, and later four more,” said Weissman. “When it’s finished, it will be safe and lovely.”
Thursday will also be the last chance for artists and photographers to capture the smaller trees before they are removed Friday.
“We had a lot of artists that did a lot of paintings of the big tree,” said Weissman. “But I’d really love them to paint the larch before it comes down.”
Friday morning, Simon Baker of Top to Bottom Tree Service will arrive and rope off the street before taking the two trees down. It is expected that it will take a few hours to complete the falling. The normal Friday morning breakfast at 8:30 will still take place, but folks are asked to park further back for safety.
“One thing has just come up,” said Weissman. “We’re going to have to store the logs for a bit of time, to allow them to dry out so we can use them to make benches and signs. We’re looking for someone to transport the logs and a location to store them.”
Anyone interested in helping with this request should called Ellen Weissman at SASi, 263-6860.