Rogers County commissioners voted Monday to not keep the two existing Red Oak trees located on the east and south side of the old courthouse.
The trees will be cut down to make room for more parking areas in front of the current Rogers County Courthouse, said District 3 Commissioner Kirt Thacker.
Thacker said after speaking with architect Kim Reeves, no hard numbers were given, but the process needed to keep the trees would be expensive.
“There is no way of knowing if the trees will survive the stress of the courthouse demolition and preparation of the new parking lot. There’s nothing really special about these trees,” he said. “Will Rogers never tied his horse to one. I think we ought to take them down and plant new trees.”
Commissioners Mike Helm, Dan DeLozier and Kirt Thacker all voted yes to the removal of the 30-year-old trees.
Preliminary plans for a plaza to be constructed in front of the new courthouse have been completed, said Thacker.
“I received a design from the architect (Kim Reeves), last week and he told me that we would lose close to 12 parking spaces, eight on the east side and three, possibly four spots on the south side if we keep the trees. Roots will grow up under the sidewalks, causing us to tear them down later.”
Helm said wood from the trees will somehow be salvaged and plans have been discussed to carve part of a tree trunk into a statue of Will Rogers.
Commissioners met Monday afternoon for a special meeting to open bids for the demolition of the old courthouse. Out of four bids, one was awarded, said County Clerk employee Nelson McSwaim.
DT Services, Inc. of Tulsa will provide demolition service for a total of $150,665. Service includes demolition, hauling of materials, as well as, hauling of dirt to be leveled for plaza construction.
The date for the demolition of the old courthouse has not yet been released.