ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Those who travel down Main Street in town may now notice a big change near Benoch Road.
Crews began work on Tuesday removing a big cottonwood tree near that intersection. The tree had stood in Orono for at least the last 50 years.
Town officials say the sheer age of the tree was going to be a huge safety risk. The lot it sits on is being cleared to make way for a University Credit Union and more public parking in Orono.
Town leaders say plans called for removing the cottonwood because internal rotting made it likely to fall.
On Tuesday many people came out to watch the tree be taken down. Some said while they're sad they understand why it needs to happen.
"It's a beautiful looking tree," said Ginny Hackney, who has lived in the town for 35 years, "but it's a cotton wood...and cottonwoods when they get this old..are going to fall down anyway."
The downtown project in Orono is expected to take 10 months to complete.
Town officials say once it is done they plan to commemorate the cottonwood in some way.