The town's tree warden will hold a hearing on Oct. 8 concerning the proposed removal of two trees near Main Street in front of the Valley House in Collinsville. It is set for 10 a.m in the Community Center, Room F. (Tree Warden Tom Richardson said he will also accept written comments, which can be sent or brought to Town Hall).
Recently removal notice was posted on two Locust trees in front of the Valley House on Main Street. The
hearing was scheduled after some
residents formally opposed the idea.
Town officials said the roots would likely damage a new sidewalk that was recently installed. Officials also contend the leaves have been the source of complaints from business owners.
A letter from Tyler Nye and Greg Dunford, however, opposed the removal.
"Trees are essential to humanity," the letter, in part, stated. "The trees on Main Street positively impact not only our environment but also community in the following ways:"
Those ways included increased property values, reduced energy usage, improved water quality, decreased storm runoff, health benefits, aesthetics and more.
Richardson said he wants to hear all sides before making a final decision and does feel that it would be nice to have some type of trees there even if the current ones are removed.
"It's a good way to get everyone's opinion," he said.
Most town officials also agreed the other trees
would likely be planted there.
Sara Shea, who owns a lower Valley House unit and temporarily lives out of state, has submitted a letter in advance of the meeting.
"The two locust trees in front of the Valley House are healthy, beautiful trees," she wrote in part. "They provide shade for the front sidewalk/patio area. This front sidewalk/patio is shared public space where many Valley House residents congregate and entertain friends, family, neighbors, and guests under the shade and beauty of these trees. In recent years, this public sidewalk area in front of the Valley House has increasingly become a place where the community gathers for parades, arts events, concerts, festivals etc."
Realty Works owner Julius Fialkiewicz said the leaves from the trees are not only messy but also create a hazard, even when dry, especially for those with mobility issues.
"If you have any issues walking, those leaves are slippery when dry and wet," he said.
Regardless of what the town decides, three other
Locust trees in front of the and closer to the Valley House are slated for removal. Those are on private property.
Kevin Barlow, vice president of the Valley House
Condo Association, said the issue is not new but came up again recently when a restoration contractor was looking at other aspects of the
building. He recommended the trees be removed due to damage the roots are
causing to the building, Barlow said. There is also other potential damage from the
branches, he added.
The association voted to remove them, he said.
"We have to cut them down so they don't do any further damage," he said.
Barlow also said the trees are a constant nuisance and drop slippery leaves year round.
"There's absolutely zero historical significance to the trees," he said. "They leave an absolute mess on the sidewalk and Main Street. It's a year-round thing."
If you can't attend the meeting, Richardson said people can submit written comments to his attention to:
Canton Town Hall
4 Market Street
Wednesday morning, Town Clerk Linda Smith said she would also accept and deliver letters for those who would like to drop them off at Town Hall.