Fate of Tontitown’s Poisoned Trees Uncertain

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Tontitown residents won’t know until after the beginning of spring whether the dozens of trees poisoned last year by the herbicide Spike at Sbanotto Park will survive.

In the meantime, the police department looks for suspects and offers a $5,250 reward.

Alderman and long-time Tontitown resident Henry Piazza said the crime makes him  angry.

“They’re dead,” Piazza said. "These have all been poisoned and those along the trail up there."

According to city officials, vandals poisoned the trees last year. The young trees are dead but the big oak trees are fighting the chemical.

Piazza has been an alderman since 1972 and helped build the Tontitown landmark.

"I don't know who they thought they were hurting,” Piazza said. “They hurt the whole public, the whole community, not one individual."

When the crime happened, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was working the case. However, it’s been turned over to the newly created Tontitown Police Department.

"We are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person that might be responsible,” Upton said. “As you can imagine the cost of replacing or cutting the dead limbs is extreme."

Upton said the department will soon bring in an expert to examine the trees.

"We'll have someone come in and actually do an evaluation on the trees as well to determine which ones might be saved,” Upton said. “Unfortunately, a lot of them have already been deemed as dead."

Piazza hates watching the bark fall apart on the trees. He said the city has around $15,000 in the budget to replace them.

"That’s taxpayer money, money we can spend on something else,” Piazza said. “But somebody, some person put an end to it, trying to kill them."

If you have any information, you are asked to call the Northwest Arkansas Crime Stoppers at 790-TIPS.