A black locust tree, about 50 feet tall, fell in Santa Fe Park Saturday as blustery winds socked the county. The tree broke at the base and toppled to the east.
Miraculously, it missed another tree planted only a few months ago, the antique light fixtures in front of the gazebo, and the gazebo itself.
Tom Schmidt, member of Partners Of Peabody Parks, said the group was grateful that more damage was not done.
“It is too bad the tree blew over,” he said. “It was a good shade tree. But if it had landed a few feet north or south, it would have done considerably more damage.”
A group of about 30 volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon with chain saws, to cut the tree into usable pieces for burning or “yard art.” Others brought rakes, trashcans, and trailers to move the wood and clean up the grounds.
Jennifer and Mackenzie Young brought hot chocolate to help keep the volunteers warm.
An impromptu auction was held and enough money was raised to purchase another good-sized tree to replace the black locust.
“We still have some wood left on hay racks by the auction warehouse,” said auctioneer Bob Marshall. “Some chunks cut from the trunk would make interesting lawn furniture or deck chairs. And there are some fireplace-sized logs for burning.
“The best part is that we got it out of the park in about two hours, raised a little money for a new tree, and had an enjoyable afternoon with others from the community.”
Marshall and Schmidt praised the junior high and high school students who took on most of the lifting and stacking after the wood was cut.
“They did a good job and no one complained,” Marshall said. “They just did what needed to be done.”
Anyone wishing to purchase additional wood can contact Marshall at 983-2771 or Schmidt at 983-2264.
“No reasonable offer will be turned down,” said Schmidt. “We will put the money to good use in the park fund.”