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Haywood commissioners on a quest for a better courthouse lawn

Nearly a year after cutting down the historic maple trees in front of the Haywood County Courthouse, the lawn still isn’t as grassy or green as county commissioners would like.


“If it is not green this summer we will be fussed at,” Commissioner Bill Upton said during a recent discussion of the issue.

Commissioners asked the county maintenance director to figure out what it will take to get the lawn in tip-top shape. Commissioner Kevin Ensley said his neighbor’s lawn looks like a golf course. 

“If he can keep his yard looking luscious and great, I think we can. Everybody that comes to Waynesville, one of the focal points is the courthouse, and I want to keep that looking nice,” Ensley said.

County Maintenance Director Dale Burris said it is not for a lack of trying on the part of his staff.

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“That is their pride and joy,” Burris said. “We are feeding the birds well with grass seed.”

Commissioner Mark Swanger said the grass is definitely growing better now than when it was heavily shaded by the trees. But it still isn’t where it needs to be.

“One of the reasons we cut the trees down was the grass wouldn’t grow. It was described as a dog lot before the trees were cut, and it has been upgraded to a cow pasture now,” Swanger joked.

Burris was instructed to come up with a grass rejuvenation plan and bring back his needs to commissioners, whether it is a sprinkler system or a more aggressive fertilizing regimen.

Commissioner Kirk Kirkpatrick said the solution is likely just another year of patience to let the grass get better established.

The commissioners took heat for cutting down the large trees from the courthouse lawn last year. Improper pruning in decades past had compromised the trees and made them vulnerable to disease and limb fall, according to an arborist.

But commissioners said they have heard from lots of fans that the courthouse façade looks better without the giant trees obscuring it.

“Really if you stand out there and look, and I have spent a lot of time looking at the whole scheme of things, it really looks good,” said Commissioner Mike Sorrells.

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