Even if you're one of those most unhappy with the Meinecke Avenue Sewer Project, we hope this will bring a small smile to your face.
The City of Wauwatosa is donating tree trimmings from the project to the Milwaukee County Zoo, where six different species of animals, some rather exotic to these parts, are munching on them away with gusto.
The loss of street trees has been among the most contentious of outcomes in the $15 million Meinecke Project. And no wonder. The prospect of losing a whole block of trees is heartbreaking.
But for some area herbivores, the prospect of a meal of fresh greens, as opposed to dry hay, is like a visit to the farmers market. And for zookeepers, anything fresh and healthy that their animals enjoy is one less dinner they have to pay for.
Tree trimmings from the project were donated to the Zoo to provide valuable nutrition to animals including giraffes, moose, camels and elephants.
Ponderous pachyderms Brittany and Ruth were particularly pleased to get a heaping helping of maple cuttings from the Menomonee River Parkway.
As anyone who loves pancakes knows, maple trees are especially efficient at packing away sugars. They are, in fact, elephant candy.
Several years ago, the Zoo began a campaign to clear an overgrowth of maple in its extensive woodlands. It wasn't long before zookeepers learned that the fresh green slash was a foodie rave to their largest tenants.
It isn't clear that elephants, anyway, love locust or green ash, the other two tree species most prevalent in the path of the project.
But if they and other animals disdain it, the cuttings will not go to waste – they'll find their way to the city composting program, to be ground up and transformed into organic soil amendments.
Waste not, want not.
But the fact that at least some of the loss of greenery is going to an extra good cause has city employees grinning.
"The elephants really love it," said Deor Hitt, an adminstrative assistant in the Development Department. "We did something good."