Cleveland Avenue Tree Removal

Several trees along Cleveland Avenue will be removed as part of construction.

Removing trees is necessary to:

  • Construct the new separated trail and sidewalk.
  • Replace sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer and stormwater treatment lines. Sanitary sewer replacements require deeper, wider excavations compared to basic road construction. Stormwater treatment also requires additional space in the project area.
  • Construct retaining walls.


  • Trees in phase one (Como Avenue to Buford Avenue) were removed June 14. Only trees in phase one will be removed in 2022.
  • Trees in phase two (Buford Avenue to Larpenteur Avenue) will be removed March 6-10, 2023. Ramsey County will continue to evaluate phase two trees as the project progresses to determine if any adjustments can be made to preserve additional trees.

Scope, evaluation process and risk

During the community engagement and pre-design work that took place in 2018 and 2019, it was estimated that 50-60 trees would need to be removed in order to construct the new layout. As the project went through the detailed design and engineering process in 2020 and 2021 – and as additional utility replacements were added to the project – the number of impacted trees grew to around 160.

The project team worked closely with University of Minnesota arborists, the cities of Falcon Heights and Saint Paul, and surrounding property owners to identify which trees need to be removed and which can be preserved. Trees were evaluated and reevaluated on a tree-by-tree basis.

The project team completed a further evaluation of 26 priority trees in phase one identified by the St. Anthony Park Community Council. The evaluation found:

  • One tree that will remain by modifying construction plans.
  • A small number of additional trees (five or less) can potentially remain. The project team is continuing conversations with homeowners and the University of Minnesota to make a final determination before June 13. The team contacted all property owners where sewer services are the primary reason for tree removal to discuss the option of lining the connection instead of replacing it.

When evaluating trees, the project team – in consultation with contractors, arborists and foresters – made a determination based on a combination of factors. Factors include how much of the tree’s root structure and stability will be damaged, condition of sewer lines once televised, grading, decisions by private property owners, ADA compliance and other design standards, and changes in excavation requirements.

Ramsey County will not bear the risk of leaving trees in place that have extensive root damage due to construction. The impact on the tree’s stability is a significant public safety issue.

The team is working with local vendors to repurpose wood from the removed trees.

Replanting plans

The project originally included replanting 55 boulevard trees. After further conversations with the cities and arborists, the county has increased the number to 70, achieving a one-to-one replacement ratio. The University of Minnesota has committed to developing a replanting plan once the project is complete to replace trees removed from their acquired right-of-way.

Completing the deep and extensive utility replacements as part of the current reconstruction project limits the chances these new trees will be impacted by future projects.

Shrubs and perennials will also be planted as part of stormwater treatment areas.

Removal plans as of January 2022

Note: Document shows trees planned for removal as of Feb. 21, 2022. Project partners, arborists and contractors are working to identify additional trees that may be saved. Actual removal will likely change during construction.