RoEna Gammon is determined to save 100-year-old trees growing near her property line from being cut down.
Gammon, a long-time Lehi resident, has started a petition to save the trees from being cut down to make room for a new sidewalk. Currently, her petition has nearly 350 signatures from Lehi residents while an online petition has gathered around 600 signatures.
The trees are owned by Lehi City and are on city property.
According to Cameron Boyle, Lehi’s public information officer, the city planned to cut down the trees to build a section of sidewalk along 100 North to make the street safer for children walking to Lehi Elementary School and to address safety concerns due to the trees’ age.
“I just want the city to consider other options,” Gammon said. “They are very unique trees.”
The trees are a mix of European Larch and Kentucky Coffee Catalpa that were planted in the early 1900s by the original owner of the Gammon home. Both species of trees are not endemic to the western United States.
Etana Larsen, Gammon’s sister, and Gammon both said they want the city to consider building the sidewalk across the street from the proposed location.
“There is plenty of room on the other side of the road,” Larsen said, pointing across the street.
However, Boyle said that it is not that easy because the city had to submit a grant proposal to secure money for the project and the grant would not apply if the location changed.
“We are working on alternative solutions for the sidewalk, including building around the trees,” Boyle said.
If the city decided to move the sidewalk across the street, then they would need to submit another proposal and start again.
Boyle said the city prefers keeping the trees if possible, and that they “don’t want to see the trees come down either.”
Gammon agreed that the school children should have a safe route to school each morning, but she does not want it to be at the cost of losing another piece of Lehi.
“It’s not just for me; it’s for everyone in Lehi,” she said.
She also hopes that using her voice will inspire other Lehi residents to use theirs when dealing with decisions that impact their community.
Gammon said that she could not just sit around and do nothing when she learned of the trees’ removal because “this is something we can impact.”
She wants the city and the state to designate the trees as a heritage site so that they might be preserved.
According to Gammon and Larsen, their family home was built by the family of S. I. Goodwin in the late 1890s, and it was the Goodwin family who planted the trees.
S. I. Goodwin was a prominent Lehi man who was on the board of the Lehi Bank, on the school board and owned Goodwin’s Golden Rule Mercantile. He was also a bishop of Lehi’s Second Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.