Group Works to Prevent Future Storm Damage in Kanawha City

KANAWHA CITY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One group is taking a proactive approach to preventing storm damage.

During the past year, downed trees have damaged about a dozen homes in Kanawha City.

“I fell in love with the neighborhood because of the trees,” homeowner Paul Fleming said.

Fleming moved to Kanawha City about four and a half years ago, but for the past year or so, he gets nervous every time the wind blows.

“Three doors down got hit (by a tree) last storm. A block down got hit last summer,” Fleming said.

Therefore, he isn't too sad to watch the tree in front of his home get chopped down.

Members of the city's beautification commission and tree board took their table talk to the streets on Tuesday -- checking out the hundreds of trees on city property in Kanawha City.

Many of them are 80 to 100 years old, reaching the end of their lifespan, and some are becoming dangerous.

“There are several houses that have had whole sections of the house smashed underneath a tree,” John Porter, a board member, said. “Luckily, so far there haven't been severe injuries, but there's always the risk.”

Porter says about 10 to 20 trees are being deemed unsafe and will need to be cut down during the next couple of years

“We’re finding the balance between the beautiful trees and keeping our neighborhood safe from the trees that could potentially fall,” Porter said.

“It's mixed emotions on the trees,” Fleming said. “They're beautiful, but I like my house, too.”

Tree board members say they will replace the trees that have to come down, if that’s what neighbors want.

The overall goal is to keep Kanawha City looking beautiful but also safe.

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