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Bloomington development plan protects sycamore

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 9:09 am

BLOOMINGTON – One hundred years ago, sycamore trees 200 years old and 15 feet in diameter were not too uncommon in Indiana. But try to find a comparable tree today.

The way to get such a behemoth tree is to start with a sapling and protect it, Christian Freitag, executive director of Sycamore Land Trust, said at the group’s annual meeting in 2011.

A sycamore tree along West 11th Street, has a head start on a sapling, but at just over 5 feet in diameter, still has a way to go to reach the size and age of those seen in pre-20th-century Indiana.

It could get there, since it is being protected from the development going on around it, thanks to Bloomington’s planning department.

The Park on Morton, a new mixed-use development on the north side of West 11th Street, is going up quickly, and the double-trunk sycamore at the southwest corner of the plot, just east of Upland Brewery, has been fenced off with a warning sign: CAUTION — TREE PROTECTION AREA.