Approximately a dozen residents came to a Tuesday morning
hearing regarding the removal of two locust trees along Main Street in
The town’s tree warden has proposed removal of two locust trees
on the sidewalk in front of the Valley House near the corner of Main and River
Three trees in the gardens in front of the Valley House are
also slated for removal but are on private property.
The hearing on the two trees on town property was scheduled after two residents protested their removal and requested a hearing, allowed by state statute.
Proponents of the removal have said the trees have grown too
large, have roots that could further damage a newly replaced sidewalk and drop
leaves that are quite slippery and a challenge to keep up with.
Advocates for keeping the trees argue that they provide valuable shade, could perhaps be trimmed and simply require a little effort to clean up after.
Sara Shea, a Valley House condo owner now living out of state asked tree warden Tom Richardson to read a letter she wrote on the issue.
While she acknowledged the trees are not historic, Shea argued that they are healthy.
“Although I understand these trees have no specific “historic” significance, they have become a part our contemporary Main Street character,” she, in part, wrote. “They offer an increasing value to our shared community space as Collinsville’s continues to evolve into an arts and culture destination. These trees enhance the urban charm, curb appeal, and property value of The Valley House. They enhance the streetscape and offer pedestrian enclosure that helps people to feel comfortable walking on Collinsville sidewalks.”
Jeannette Newell, president of the Valley House condo association, said a professional, local arborist has said the trees, including the ones on town property, have not been maintained, have too high of a crown and should come down.
“I believe we are beyond pruning,” she said.
Corey Tucker of
Canton, a former Valley House condo owner, said the trees are beneficial in
“The trees are not only beautiful but they’re also energy
efficient to people who live in the Valley House,” Tucker said.
Tucker said cleaning up after them is also not too big a
burden and said she spent several years doing so.
“It’s New England,” Tucker said. “Leaves fall and it’s a common
Public Works Director Robert Martin said the town did aggressively cut back the root system of the trees and enlarged the area around them when replacing the sidewalks in the summer of 2012.
Nearby business owner Julius Fialkiewicz said he believes
that action hurt the health of the trees, leading to more off-season leaf
shedding than normal.
He said those leaves are not only slippery even when dry but
said the health of the trees would only become more of an issue.
“I really wish you would replace them before they became a real hazard on Main Street,” he said.
A few others spoke as well and everyone who addressed the issue agreed that if the two trees on town property are removed, other trees should replace them.
Richardson said if they were removed, he would consult with several people before deciding on a replacement. He said his thought was something native with smaller roots and slower growth. He mentioned some type of maples as a possibility.
Richard Swibold, a Canton resident who for many years worked
as an architect in Collinsville, said he agrees the trees need to come down.
However, he said he did not agree with the idea of a Maple.
“I think they should be replaced but certainly not with Maples,” he said.
Swibold said common urban trees include shade master locust,
ginkgo or little leaf linden.
Richardson said under the state statute he has three days to
make a decision, which will be posted on the trees. Patch also plans to update
readers as well.