News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on April 16, 2018

Transylvania County is pleased to announce that the evaluation of the Norway Spruce tree at the Courthouse is complete and the tree will remain a fixture on the courthouse site.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the work of our project team developing the courthouse cupula project- including evaluation of the tree.  Concerns were raised during construction planning about the health of the tree and what would be necessary regarding the landscaping in order to facilitate this important project for the historic structure.  Now that we have recommendations in hand, we can make sure that both the historic courthouse building and the tree continue to be a central part of downtown Brevard,” Commission Chairman Larry Chapman said.
The project team employed Andrew Wagner of Heartwood Tree service to evaluate the health of the tree now and long term prior to making a determination on how best to proceed with work scheduled to take place in late May and June of this year.   
“County staff scheduled to address the courthouse cupula this year in the FY 18 budget.  Whenever we approach a project, we make sure that we conduct due diligence to assess impacts of the project and make sure that we have the best information available.  Concerns about the tree’s current and long term health, impact of the construction project, additional growth impact onto the side walk and potential for root system to encroach on the rock wall were in need of evaluation. The process included engaging both Horticulture and Arborist professionals to clearly understand the situation before making a recommendation just like we employ an architect with experience in historic buildings to guide the design plans,”  Assistant County Manager David McNeill said.
The recommendations from the arborist include regular pruning and treatments that will limit growth so that it does not outgrow the area.  Norway Spruce trees can grow as tall as 70-90 feet- double the height the tree is currently.  County staff is working to make sure that construction plans will not impact the tree, but some of the boxwoods will have to be removed in order to provide access to the cupula.
“A landscaping plan is in development for the courthouse project that will continue to add to the attractiveness of the courthouse building.  The County has a huge responsibility as stewards of the historic building and being the center of our community activity.  Our maintenance and grounds staff now has a plan in hand from the arborist that will give us a treatment protocol so that we can make sure that this tree is there for more generations of our children all the time, but especially at Christmas.  Staff made the right call pulling in expertise and we are all pleased with the outcome,”  County Manager Jaime Laughter said.
A rumor that a decision had already made to remove the courthouse upset community members last week that had many on social media commenting and sending in letters to commissioners because the tree has become endeared to many over the years.
“While the reaction may have been premature, the concern over the tree encouraged our citizens to reach out and participate in government by letting their opinion be known.  Seeing our citizens taking an interest in county government and exercising their voice is a good thing for our community because decisions are not always easy.  Citizens should be informed and involved,” Chapman said.
For more information contact:
Jaime Laughter
County Manager
Transylvania County
101 S Broad Street
Brevard, NC 28712