180 families to lose memorial trees planted at Des Moines Water Works Park

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) — Trees dedicated to 180 families will be soon taken down from Des Moines Water Works Park.

Des Moines Water Works CEO Bill Stowe said Tuesday that the community has long wanted improvements to the park, but that they cannot be made unless the trees are taken down.

"We certainly regret the fact that people thought they'd have a tree planted here forever,” Stowe said.

Michelle Eash received one of the 180 letters explaining that the $100 memorial tree she had planter in honor of her mother will be taken down.

“It upsets me that it’s not going to be relocated, or it can't be relocated,” Eash said.

Eash said she had a Crab Apple Tree planter and placed some of her mother’s ashes there because she thought the memorial tree would be permanent.

“My mom is buried two and a half hours away, and this is where I come to talk to her,” Eash said.

Stowe said Des Moines Water Works plans to excavate the area where the trees are planted, then build an amphitheater and playgrounds in their place.

He said tree donors will be given a sapling and the plaque that was placed on their original tree.

Eash said a sapling will not replace the five years she spent making memories at her mother’s tree.

“I know what they want to do,” Eash said. “I was just hoping that in their letter or in a disclosure somehow that this may not be a permanent thing."

The trees are expected to come down in the next month.

Stowe said Des Moines Water Works is considering creating a memorial plaque for all those who have donated. That plaque could then be moved to fit the changing needs of the park.

Read more at KCCI.com.