Bridgestone's roots go deep in Akron.
So deep, in fact, that for the last week and a half, workers with the Kent-based Davey Tree Expert Co. have been preparing and moving two 90- to 110-ton trees that were planted on the South Main Street property of Bridgestone Americas — the former Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. — in 1950, when the statue of founder Harvey S. Firestone Sr. was dedicated to mark the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Akron tire giant.
The black tupelo, or black gum, trees are being relocated about 300 and 600 yards away on Bridgestone Americas property as the company prepares to begin construction of its new, $100 million technical center.
Bridgestone Americas is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corp., which purchased Firestone in 1988 for $2.6 billion.
On Tuesday, Davey workers, using what is called a gantry crane that was assembled around the 70-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide tree, moved it out of a 4-foot-deep, hand-dug hole and to its new location. It is expected to be replanted in its new hole today.
A second tree, also 70 feet tall with branches about 40 feet wide, is to be moved Thursday and planted Friday, said Jeff Crites, Davey's district manager out of the South Akron and Canton office and the certified arborist on the Bridgestone Technical Center project.
''We made the decision to save them and move them,'' said Bob Handlos, vice president of product development for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC.
The trees, he said, are ''really great specimens,'' and it would take a long time for trees to grow to replace them.
He said Bridgestone's share of the technical center project should amount to about $60 million to $65 million, and digging should begin next week. The move-in date for the new building is the end of 2011, he said.
Handlos would not disclose the cost of moving the trees, but called it ''fairly expensive.''
Read the full story here, and watch a video of the crew moving the two huge trees.