Crawford County officials will close Fourth Street in Van Buren on Saturday to cut down two decades-old trees that have become safety hazards.

A pecan tree and elm tree that have been on the east side of the Crawford County Courthouse lawn for “about a hundred years” will be cut down, said Elaine Stanfield, Crawford County Judge’s assistant.

To remove the trees, Fourth Street will be closed for the entire day, said Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap.

“To safely remove them without causing any more damage to the lawn, we’ll have to bring in a large crane,” Gilstrap said.

Both trees are hollow from being struck by lightening and have become safety hazards, according to Gilstrap.

Large branches from the trees that could cause injury fell across the courthouse sidewalk after recent storms, and a recent inspection revealed their roots are pushing up sidewalk sections and creating trip hazards, Gilstrap said.

Because the weight imbalance of branches, if the trees fell they would fall on the courthouse and could damage the historic building, Gilstrap said.

“I hate that we have to do it, but sometimes these things need to be done,” Gilstrap said.

County workers also will be trimming branches off trees around the historic schoolhouse on the courthouse lawn on Saturday, Gilstrap said.

A branch from one of the trees recently fell and damaged the Harry O. Hamm memorial bench, Gilstrap said.