ST. LOUIS — There is a long list of trees waiting to be removed in the city of St. Louis. One family said the tree in front of their home has been on the list for five years, and they want answers.

Andrew Rolf and his family have lived in the North Hampton neighborhood for five years and have been dealing with a dead tree in their front yard since they moved in.

“It sheds a lot of galls. It’s infested. It’s dying,” said Rolf.

The tree is owned by the City of St. Louis. Rolf said he tried to add this tree to the city’s list to get cut down, but it was already added before they moved in back in 2017. Five years later and it still stands, and caused a headache for the homeowners.

“I’d like to see this tree out of my life,” Rolf said. “It’s really time for this thing to come down.”

The homeowners said they had some hope in April 2020 when the city marked the tree with a red X. They thought it would be a few weeks or months until the tree was cut down. But two years later with the red X, it still stands.

“We just keep hearing they’re going to get to it, it’s on a list of trees to come down, it’s really big, there’s been a few different excuses,” Rolf said. “There’s a lot of kids on this block that are riding bikes and scooters, it just seems like a matter of time before someone got hurt.”

And on Saturday night, something did get hurt, but it was property and not a person, thankfully.

“We looked out the window and saw broken glass all over the street,” Rolf said.

A tree limb fell and broke through the rear window of Rolf’s mother’s car, who had come over for dinner Saturday night. They called the city again Monday morning to let them know about the property damage but were told it would be about 30-45 days before someone could come out to their home. 

Alderman Joseph Vollmar has been in contact with the homeowners for two years and has been contacting the forestry department on their behalf, according to email exchanges between the two. Vollmar confirmed a long waitlist for tree removal in the city with FOX 2 Monday. He said the labor shortage is impacting the forestry division.

Last week, this is what Rolf saw across from his home.

“I saw the forestry department across the street from me last week, so there are people at work and those guys did a heck of a job across the street, but I’d like to see them on this side of this street taking this thing down,” he said, looking at the tree.

The Rolf family was stumped on what to do next, so they turned to Fox 2, rooting for a different outcome.
 
Forestry Commissioner Alan Jankowski released the following statement:

“The Division of Forestry continues to work diligently to remove trees by those that pose the greatest risk to residents and businesses. The Division of Forestry will be removing this tree at 3245 Regal Place tomorrow, April 5. The City of St. Louis remains committed to improving city services and addressing the needs of residents and has allocated $1.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to support the removal of dangerous trees. This funding is waiting for final passage at the Board of Aldermen. The Division is also looking to fill its open Tree Trimmer and Utility Worker positions; City residents are encouraged to apply online.”