Tree planted in memory of 23-year-old man killed in crash preserved as construction done around it

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RICHFIELD -- Making room for progress can mean doing away with things of the past. The transition can be unacceptable depending on what the past is.

Construction is underway on a new 18,000 square foot volunteer fire company headquarters in the Village of Richfield, and a "King Crimson Maple" tree stands on the construction site.

Richfield tree memorial

"We wanted to plant something -- a memorial in his name, and so we did that with a rock," said Royd March.

Todd March

Todd March

The tree was planted in Heritage Park by Royd and Mary March more than 20 years ago, after their son, 23-year-old Todd March, was killed in a horrible accident in 1994.1994 accident

Two decades later, they received a surprise phone call from the village administrator because the tree stands in the drainage area for the new building.Richfield tree memorial

"Telling them in the beginning that...the tree may have to be removed -- was probably one of the more difficult conversations I've had to have with a resident," said Village of Richfield Administrator Jim Healy.

"Our heart went down because we had planted this -- something living going forward in remembrance -- and so it's very important to keep it alive and growing," said Royd.

Todd March

Todd March

Village officials contacted David J. Frank Landscaping, the company where Todd was working just before he died.Richfield tree memorial

"I helped plant the tree and watered the tree for the first two years," said Kurt Bartel, landscape production manager.

David Frank Landscaping donated and planted the tree and when Bartel inspected the situation, he knew the solution.

Kurt Bartel

Kurt Bartel

"A retaining wall to retain the soil around the root system and the tree to stop erosion to ensure the tree would be able to survive," said Bartel.

Once again, David Frank Landscaping stepped up to do the work and provide the materials.

"It's going to look better than it did at the original planting," said Royd.

The village administrator said David Frank Landscaping donated an estimated $8,000-10,0000 in raw materials and labor.Richfield tree memorial

Now the landscapers are happy, the village is happy, the family is very happy -- and so are residents who have been commenting on the village Facebook page.

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