Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 10:33 AM
By: Cornelius Frolik - Staff Writer
Crews next week will begin reconstructing a popular tree tower and observation deck that closed more than a year ago because of safety concerns.
The Cox Arboretum MetroPark Tree Tower closed in September 2016 after soft spots were discovered in the wood of the 65-foot tall structure, which is supported by three beams.
The damage, caused by fungal disease, threatened the stability of the tower, and Five Rivers MetroParks closed it and later approved spending about $390,465 to repair and replace the support beams.
“The safety and enjoyment of our visitors is a top priority,” said Carrie Scarff, MetroParks chief of planning and projects, in a statement.
The tower, which originally cost about $475,000 to build, opened in October 2012 and was paid through a partnership with the James M. Cox Jr. Arboretum Foundation and Five Rivers MetroParks.
Contractors will be installing new logs and braces and will reassemble other parts of the original structure that have been in storage, MetroParks said.
Except for barriers around the tower site, the visitor experience at the arboretum will not be affected, officials said.
Construction will occur during the winter months, and the completion date will depend on the weather.
“We have worked diligently to restore this iconic structure to its original beauty and ensure the tree tower can be enjoyed by the public for many years to come,” Scarff said.