Yarmouth prepares for crowds during Herbie's removal

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YARMOUTH — When Herbie, Yarmouth’s 240-year-old, 110-foot American elm tree is removed from the corner of Yankee Drive and East Main Street on Jan. 18, town officials want spectators to be safe and prepared.

To keep the droves of residents, neighbors and expected spectators safe, Public Works Department Director Erik Street said there will be road closures and public parking available.

Route 88 will be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic between Main and East Main streets on Jan. 18 and 19 from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Detour signs and police tape will be placed around the work zone to prohibit any vehicle or pedestrian travel through this area, and volunteers and town staff will be available to guide spectators.

According to Debbie Hopkins, Yarmouth’s new tree warden, Herbie has Dutch Elm disease and must be removed to avoid contamination of other trees in town. She said it will cost about $7,000 to remove the tree and $14,000 to have the wood milled and kiln dried.

“The fundraising is coming along, but I am concerned about raising the $20,000,” she said. “If everybody gives a little something, everybody will get something in return.”

The wood salvaged from Herbie will be used by local woodworkers to make memorabilia such as bowls, pens and cutting boards.

Hopkins said there is no deadline to raise the money, and no gift is too big or too little.

“If we raise more than what is needed to take Herbie down and process his wood, the money will go toward future tree maintenance,” she said. “We will use it to help produce a better canopy for the streets of Yarmouth.”

The tree removal is expected to take only two days, but if weather proves problematic, Street said the work will be delayed an additional day.

“People are welcome to visit the work site as Herbie is removed,” he said. “There will be parking areas so people can view the work.”

He also said the work is scheduled during school vacation so there will be no buses running and less traffic.

To learn more about the project or for additional questions, visit yarmouth.me.us. and click on the Herbie Project or call Hopkins at work, 846-9311 or at home, 829-9998.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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The beloved Yarmouth tree known as Herbie, at Yankee Drive and East Main Street, will come down Monday, Jan. 18.