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Midway neglecting historic trees
Letter to the editor

Editor, I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
— Joyce Kilmer 1914

A historical tragedy has befallen the city of Midway. The historic Martin Road is lined with many trees that meet to form a canopy over the road, their branches adorned with Spanish moss. The road starts at Midway Congregational Church, founded in 1792, on Highway 17 and continues 2 miles through Midway to Oglethorpe Highway.

Hundreds of trees act as sentinels, shielding the road — some 120-200 years old, including live oaks, sweet gum, water oaks and laurel oaks. As these trees grew, they watched while the county’s ancestors rode horses and buggies.

Now, 13 of these beautiful trees must be destroyed, and many have to be pruned to save them. Because of neglect, several branches have fallen across the road.

The tragedy here is that because of negligent care and lack of pruning, disease is taking its toll on these stunning trees. At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington assured the audience that the city will take care of the trees. But this is too little, too late. This is especially true because Mayor Washington lives on Martin Road and has a blind eye to off-road vehicles that run alongside Martin over the tree roots. The tracks are very clear.

The Midway city government has neglected these trees for many years. Now, we will lose the magnificent view as we drive down Martin Road.  

On top of the loss of the trees, it will cost the city more than $150,000 to remove, replace and prune the trees. Money the city doesn’t have in its budget. Money we, the taxpayers, will eventually pay.

If you live in Liberty County, you might want to drive down Martin Road and enjoy the striking canopy while we still have it.

Len Calderone

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