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District 15

Alder Grant Foster

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Alder Grant Foster

Contact Information

Home Address:

3930 Anchor Dr

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Foster’s Updates

Circle Park Oak Update - 06/07/22

June 7, 2022 5:32 PM

I received the below commiunication from Parks Operations Manager, Greg Genin, today.

I appreciate the advocacy from neighbors to ensure that a full evaluation of the tree was performed and that information was shared out prior to removal. I also appreciate Parks and Forestry staff's work on this issue and their willingness to respond to community concerns.

Any follow up questions are best directed to Greg at or (608) 267-8804.

Hello Alder Foster.

Please distribute this memo as you see needed.

The City of Madison Forestry Department, at the request of the City of Madison Parks Division, completed an assessment of the Red Oak located on the grounds of Elmside Park.  This tree, due to safety concerns, was scheduled for to be removed on Friday, June 3, 2022.  Although the tree was assessed by the Parks Arborist, due to neighborhood expressed concerns Parks requested the additional tree risk assessment. 

The tree had lost a large limb a week prior and upon an aerial inspection by a Parks Division arborist, a substantial amount of heartwood decay, large dead branches, as well as a crack at a branch union of a large limb on the south side of the tree were observed. The tree had lost similar sized limbs in previous years.

The follow-up tree inspection was completed on Monday, June 5, by one of the certified Forestry Specialist (see attached).  The International Society of Arboriculture's (ISA) Tree Risk Assessment was used for this inspection.  The inspection identified advanced decay within the upper portions of the tree and the main stem, where a recent branch failure occurred and showed extensive heartwood decay resulting in a hollow trunk. This column of decay extended an estimated 15ft downwards from the opening in the trunk and exceeds the allowable threshold for sound holding wood.  Large deadwood was also observed throughout the canopy. 

The Parks Team is saddened that this significant and once thriving tree must be removed, but we also recognize that there is a tree life cycle and the need to take the appropriate action when tree conditions merit.  In this case, the tree must be removed as the hazard created cannot remain in the Park.  

Although multiple well trained, educated and certified professional arborists have inspected this tree and we are very confident in their abilities and findings, we remain open to an independent assessment.  The City is not able to fund this assessment.  Any contractor hired for such work must be certified, insured, and would need to receive preapproval from Parks before the tree is inspected.  This inspection would need to be completed prior to next Monday, June 13, 2022 with a copy of the written report submitted to Madison Parks.  Please let us know if there is a plan to proceed with an independent assessment. 


We currently have the tree coned off for public protection and plan to remove the tree next week.  In the meantime those interested in seeing the tree and saying farewell can do so as long as they remain behind the coned area. 

While it is not our normal operating practice, in this specific case we are open to allowing some or all of the wood to be taken for adaptive repurposing, other than for the use of firewood, if arrangement can made and scheduled prior to the removal.   

Again, we recognize beauty and value of trees and empathize with the emotional attachment as we share those feelings.  However, this tree needs to be removed.  We hope we can all share in the joy of the trees life, say our goodbyes, and accept the tree needs to be removed.
Best Regards,
Greg Genin
Parks Operations Manager

The attached report can be found here.

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