Lexington honors Arbor Day at Arboretum as KU tree controversy looms

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – The cool fall air and bright sunshine made for a great way to wrap up Tree Week.

“It’s a peaceful place. When I need a peaceful walk this is where I come,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said.

Saturday morning, Lexington was honored as a National Tree City for the 33rd year in a row, but the backdrop of controversy around Kentucky Utilities cutting down trees throughout the city sat like an elephant in the room.

Mayor Gorton said the issue is the “huge mature trees” KU is taking down in neighborhoods in the city.

“I will just be quite honest, neighbors are outraged. Neighbors have planted these trees they have watched them grow and mature and they’ve added value to their property,” Mayor Gorton said.

Mayor Gorton said there is a delicate balance that needs to be struck between protecting the trees and protecting the powerlines that keep our electricity running. She said she’ll be speaking with the new CEO of Kentucky Utilities early this week and there is a council work session set for Tuesday, where KU officials will be there to talk about this issue.

“The infrastructure of our utility is very important to our community. We need to be very clear about that. The infrastructure of the is very important,” Mayor Gorton said.

Mayor Gorton said she’s already heard from community members who plan on attending Tuesday’s council work session.

“We’ve got to talk about this honestly, openly and you know work through it and see what kind of things they can do differently,” Mayor Gorton said.

Tuesday’s work session will start around 3 p.m.

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