ST. PAUL, Minn. - A sea of stumps lines the streets of St. Paul.
The city's latest effort to keep the dreaded emerald ash borer from spreading included cutting down 800 boulevard trees. But it's not the missing trees that have homeowners upset. It's the stumps that the city can't afford to have removed.
"You don't realize it until they're gone how nice it was," said Mary Benz.
She barely recognizes the view outside her front window, no longer seeing the two ash trees that have been out front since she moved in 40 years ago.
Bill Overby has been in the neighborhood since 1965.
He understands why the trees were cut down, but is frustrated the stumps won't be removed for months — possibly years — until the city gets the funding.
"How do you replace a tree like this?" Overby said. "Not in my lifetime."
City council member Amy Brendmoen has heard from several homeowners in her district wondering why it will take that long to remove the stumps. She's working with Mayor Chris Coleman and others to find more money, because the problem is getting worse. The emerald ash borer is spreading faster than expected.
More than 1,500 trees will be removed this year, according to environmental policy advisor Anne Hunt. That's why at this time they only have enough money to remove them — not replace them.
Homeowners argue there has to be money somewhere in the budget. Brendmoen agrees, which is why she's working to find it.
"When you go through the neighborhood and see the long row of stumps, it's horrible," she said.
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