Ringgold officials have elected to replace a beloved dead tree that currently resides in its historical district after the former mayor requested that a replacement be brought in.

Ringgold's former long-time mayor, Joe Barger, attended the Dec. 11 City Council meeting and spoke at the audience podium after 40 years on the other side of the microphone.

Barger requested that the city replace his now-dead ginkgo tree in Citizen's Park with a new one.

Barger planted the tree there himself in 1987, and two years later, a local Boy Scout troop planted an identical one a few yards away.

After fighting in 2014 to keep both trees as part of the downtown scene during the city's streetscaping project, Barger says he'd like to see the replacement happen in order to keep the ginkgo beauty in the park.

"I would like to replace the tree with another one," Barger said. "If y'all would consider this, I'd appreciate it. One has died, but the other is still alive and fine. I just ask that you replace the dead one."

During the discussion, Councilwoman Sara Clark explained that one of the concerns with the trees are their size, and the issue of sidewalks cracking over time due to the roots of the trees.

The council didn't decide on the matter that night, as Mayor Nick Millwood pointed out that the issue would have to wait until the next meeting for a vote.

"That's fine, we've got time," Barger replied.

During the most recent meeting, Jan. 8, the council unanimously approved replacing the dead tree with a new ginkgo.

Barger's affinity for ginkgo trees began while he was in the military. He says he first noticed ginkgo trees more than 30 years ago while in Japan, and has been proud of their existence in Ringgold.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.