Emerald Ash Borer hits iconic Davenport boulevard

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DAVENPORT-- Kirkwood Boulevard will look different next year to the thousands of Bix 7 runners because 33 Ash trees have to be removed.

Nothing about this typically shade covered, calm Davenport boulevard is quiet on Wednesday. The sound of chainsaws and branch grinders rattle homes.

Neighbor Kenneth Morning was on his way from the hardware store when he witnessed his neighborhood changing in front of his eyes.

33 full grown ash trees are coming down one branch at a time because they are infested with Emerald Ash Borer.

The invasive beetles from China feed and nest on the Ash trunk and branches. The bugs grow, but the trees die, creating a hazard for buildings and humans if they aren't taken down.

"It's unfortunate any way you look at it. They're nice trees, or they were," says Davenport Forestry Director John Vance.

33 trees chopped down, but 33 new ones will be planted in their places by the end of October 2018.

As this crew trims, cuts, and grinds, neighbors realize the changing landscape will make things different in the future for Bix 7 runners and spectators.

The boulevard is known because it's right in the heart of the 7-mile route.

"A lot of people on this block come out. They sit to watch the race," says Morning.

And while the future of this running route will look unusually bright in years to come, this typically shade covered Davenport boulevard will grow back healthier down the road.

The crew will start removing stumps tomorrow. The new trees will be planted in the upcoming weeks.

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