The Town of Marion is removing a large spruce tree believed to be over a century old from the area between the Elizabeth Taber Library and the Sippican Elementary School, in a space created to memorialize four deceased students.

The work is expected to begin on Monday, January 30.

“When it was noticed that the tree was losing branches and bark, it was evaluated by Bartlett Tree Experts who determined that the tree had been struck by lightning, was severely compromised and needed to be removed due to the possibility that it could fall, especially during a weather event,” town officials said in a release.

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There is also concern because the tree is close to a memorial garden built to honor four children who passed away while attending Sippican School.

"We know that this tree and its position as part of the memorial garden is an important part of our town and is recognizable by many, however, we must put safety first," Interim Town Administrator Judith Mooney said. "The town will support the Parks and Tree Committee as it makes plans to replace the tree so that the area can continue to be meaningful and honor the young lives that were lost."

The Parks and Tree Committee hopes to involve the four families of the students memorialized as well as current Sippican students in planting additional trees in the area, town officials said.

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