The Hamilton County Commissioners have agreed to pay nearly $100,000 after part of an 86-foot-tall oak tree fell onto four cars parked on the Courthouse Square in downtown Noblesville Oct. 21. Strong winds caused the tree to break. The tree was on the northeast corner of the Courthouse Square.
“We are so grateful that no one was hurt in this incident,” Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman stated. “The vehicles involved can be replaced or repaired. We’re just incredibly lucky this incident didn’t result in someone getting hurt.”
The tree was deemed healthy in a tree hazard assessment three years ago. Altman said the county had no evidence that the tree was diseased, dying or posed a threat.
“Even though there is a question if the county is responsible under common law for the damage caused by the fallen tree, we feel strongly that we should assume responsibility for the damage caused to the vehicles,” Altman stated. “We do not want to place additional burden on the those affected and want to get them back on the road as quickly as possible.”
The tree could not be saved and was removed. However, the county began cultivating saplings from the tree’s acorns several years ago and plans to plant them on the Courthouse Square to continue the tree’s lineage.