CANTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Residents in Canton have rallied to save an iconic sycamore tree in town.

The tree sits at the intersection of Cherry Brook Road and West Mountain Road. It was set to be taken down, but town residents have fought to keep it standing.

“It’s a symbol of how much we care about nature,” said Katie Kenney, of Canton. “It’s also a symbol of our quirkiness. We’re not the same as everyone else. We would preserve a tree in the middle of the road.”

While the tree looks healthy and robust, town officials want it removed because it’s in the middle of the road, causing safety issues. According to a town report, the tree may have contributed to five documented crashes since 2011, the last being in October 2018.  

“I taught in Winsted, so I went back and forth on this road every day for 30 years and never had a problem,” said Marianne Burbank, of Canton.

The town report said the tree also poses some difficulties for firefighters, school buses and public works crews.

“The fire department can get where it needs to go through an alternative route that’s actually faster,” said Michael Vogel, of Canton. “Sounds like the school buses are content to travel the way they do. We really think the safety concerns were overstated.”

Due to public outcry over the possible tree removal, First Selectman Bob Bessel said the town would hire an engineer to provide design options that would “improve safety and hopefully preserve the tree.”

“The engineer might come back and say the tree is fine the way it is, and quite frankly, I think we’d all go home happy,” Bessel said.

The special public hearing initially scheduled for Tuesday, April 11, has been canceled.

The tree warden will ultimately decide to remove or preserve the beloved tree.