July 18, 2012
Trees cut at Suggett Park after one falls on cars
16 cherry trees in city park discovered to be rotting on the inside are removed
Youth Bureau Director John McNerney said the city removed about 16 cherry trees in Suggett Park after one of them fell on a power line and three cars last month.
On June 28, a cherry tree rotting from the inside downed a power line and damaged the cars parked in the lot near Wickwire Pool. The rest of the trees were cut down Tuesday.
“We dodged a bullet,” McNerney said. “Thank God no one was hurt.”
McNerney said the city decided to remove the trees after talking with its insurance provider and a tree specialist from National Grid.
While the trees appeared healthy, McNerney said they were rotting on the inside.
McNerney said the city was not liable for the first tree incident but would be vulnerable if it did not take action. The trees are near the parking lot for the pool and McNerney said between 400 and 600 people were in the area at the time the tree fell on June 28.
McNerney said it was “bittersweet” to have to remove the trees, since they provided shade at Suggett park.
“It’s a sad day,” McNerney said. It’s something we didn’t want to take down for the city park. But from a safety standpoint, we felt that we had to.”
McNerney said he had already talked with other city officials to make plans to replace the trees.
City resident Diane Chu was at the pool helping out with the Red Cross Learn to Swim program Tuesday and said she was surprised to see the trees come down. She wished there had been notice from the city that the trees needed to be cut.
“I hope they’ll replace them,” Chu said.
City residents Katie Hall and Mike Dexter spoke about the trees at Suggett Park during the city Common Council meeting Tuesday.
Hall, who is the Living and Leisure editor at the Cortland Standard, said she was dismayed to learn about the trees Tuesday. She said she loves the city parks and the landscaping in the city.
“I was so bummed out to see the row of trees chopped out,” Hall said. “It looks terrible.”
Dexter, the chairman of the city’s Landscape and Design Commission, said he learned about the situation Tuesday and vowed to plant new trees at the park through the city’s tree planting program.
“They were in tough shape,” Dexter said of the cherry trees at Suggett Park. “We will replant trees in the park. The right trees in the right spot.”
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