GOSHEN — A significant tree removal project is in the works for a section of Westwood Road near IU Health Goshen Hospital. Exactly when the trees will be removed, however, has yet to be determined.
John Stout, supervisor of forestry operations for the Northern Indiana Public Service Company, recently reported that as many as 12 trees along Westwood Road from Main Street down to the Goshen Cancer Center have been slated for removal due to concerns about overhanging power lines in the area.
“We’ve talked to the property owners, talked to the city planning department, the city forester... Everybody’s aware of what’s happening,” Stout said during a phone interview Friday afternoon. “The trees are tall-growing species that were planted directly underneath the lines that service the hospital, and are incompatible with the site.”
Joe Dervin, a resident of the Historic Racemere Peninsula Neighborhood located adjacent to the hospital, said he noticed several months ago that the trees along Westwood Road had red dots painted on their trucks. Having worked for the NIPSCO company for 35 years, he said he knew immediately what those little red marks meant.
“It’s unfortunate, because they’re nice trees,” Dervin said Friday. “But I realize it’s also a main feeder into the hospital, and that has to be maintained. ... I knew the time was probably coming that they were going to take them out. People love their trees, and I do too, but there comes a time when sometimes they need to be taken down.”
Dervin, who serves as president of the Historic Racemere Peninsula Neighborhood Association, had his suspicions confirmed by Mark Podgorski, vice president of hospital operations for IU Health Goshen Hospital, who informed Dervin of NIPSCO’s plans. Dervin in turn sent the information on to the other members of the neighborhood association.