New Blue Spruce to fill void after theft in Bryan Park

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Russ Bridenbaugh stares at the stump of a 22-year-old blue spruce tree he had nurtured and donated to Bryan Park.

Cook Center Business Roundtable businesses pitching in to help put another tree where Bridenbaugh’s stood

Once a tree is cut down and stolen, it can’t be replaced.

When vandals took the 22-year-old blue spruce that Russ Bridenbaugh donated to the city and saw planted within eyesight of his apartment on the south perimeter of Bryan Park, they took a tree the longtime Bloomington resident had nurtured for more than two decades — and had intended to be his memorial tree after his death.

A business roundtable group read about the theft of the tree Tuesday morning and unanimously agreed to help put a new one in its place. “I’m very moved by that,” Bridenbaugh said when he heard of the plan. “I’m deeply grateful.”

Don Weiler of Bailey & Weiler Design/Build said his group, the Cook Center Business Roundtable, was not only moved by Bridenbaugh’s loss but fortunate that one of its members is Dan Gluesenkamp, owner of Designscape Horticultural Services. “We wanted to rectify the situation for this gentleman,” Weiler said. “Dan’s a good resource to have.”

Bloomington’s urban landscaper, Lee Huss, said he’d be happy to work with the business group to fill the gap left by the purloined tree. He noted that he had just learned that someone recently cut down two blue spruce trees at RCA Park as well.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me,” Huss said. “It seems to happen every year.”

“The irony is, blue spruces don’t make good Christmas trees,” said Bridenbaugh on Tuesday. “They will drop every needle within about 48 hours of being cut. Whoever did this is sitting there looking at a bare-framed tree with a pile of needles on their living room floor.”

By Mike Leonard
December 7, 2011

 Copyright: 2011

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