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home : news : news
October 17, 2018

1/31/2018 12:23:00 PM
Explosive growth needs careful planning

By Gretta Becay

In the last few years, Byron has seen a spike in population from the 2010 census count of 4,914 to the state demographer's estimate of 5,498 in 2016;

a nearly 12 percent increase in population, City Administrator Mary Blair-Hoeft explained to city council members at a workshop Jan. 23.

Proper planning on the part of city officials has allowed the growth; there's enough clean, fresh water for new homes and the city has the capacity to handle more wastewater and to channel storm water runoff, she said.

To keep the city growing smoothly, city council members met for two hours and set some priorities for upcoming projects. At the next regular meeting of the council Feb. 13, the group will formalize what was discussed.

In five years, will Byron's ash trees all be gone?

Public Works Superintendent Tom Ricke told council members there are about 450 ash trees that belong to the city. These trees are facing the emerald ash borer epidemic sweeping the Midwest and will probably all be cut down in the not-too-distant future, he said.

In the fall of 2016, the bugs were found in a row of ash trees in Kasson and Dodge County joined Olmsted, Wabasha, Houston, Fillmore, Winona and other counties in being classified as 'infested' counties. This classification causes quarantines on the movement of firewood and any type of ash material out of the counties.

Ricke said he is formulating a policy he will bring to the council so residents and business owners can understand what to do for their own ash trees. He explained that the trees could be treated, if the owner wants to bear the expense.

It is doubtful the city would treat any ash trees but it will still cost the city thousands of dollars to cut and move the wood to a burn site, he said.

More details about the pest are on the state website at

Roundabout? 20th St?

Read the rest of the story in the print edition of the Byron Review.

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