This coming Monday, the 23rd, there is a hearing about the removal of the six remaining trees on Beacon Street. It will be held at the Public Safety Building at 220 Washington Street, starting at 6pm.
There is also a meeting on Wed, May 2. about the removal of dozens of mature trees on Somerville Ave near Union Square.
I believe that it is critical for us, as a community to engage with this process at every opportunity. This means showing up, writing letters, making phone calls, and generally making our voices heard.
I understand that we are late in the process and that it will be disruptive and expensive to change these plans to preserve any trees at all. These hearings are structured as a formality, a notification, rather than a genuine opportunity to listen to the community and take our input.
Unfortunately, because of multiple failures of process and notification within the city, as well as Newport Construction's aggressive and well coordinated scheduling mistake last fall, this is our opportunity to be heard.
I believe that we should make use of it.
My own submission to the Tree Warden is below. You are welcome to use these words or ones like them:
To whom it may concern,I am writing to express my opposition to the removal of the few remaining trees on Beacon Street, and to the removal of all of the mature street trees on southern Somerville Ave.I am asking the city to issue a change order on both of those projects and to develop new plans that will preserve at least some of these trees.I've lived in several different cities. My experience is that once a community loses its trees, it is very rare for new ones to be allowed to grow to maturity in their place. The same pattern is true with parks and other living green spaces. Once we choose to carve up or cover over a green space, that green and living resource is usually lost forever.A 9 inch diameter tree is probably between 20 and 50 years old. The saplings being planted along Beacon Street this year will reach that level of maturity between 2038 and 2060.Nine inches is an important landmark in the growth of a city tree, because that is the minimum size at which a tree will be listed out individually in a construction bid. Smaller trees are lumped together under "general excavation," and do not seem to merit much respect or protection in the planning process.If you walk along Somerville or Highland Ave, you can see the slow, slow growth of the saplings that were planted over the last decade, as well as the steady loss due to neglect, disease, and the ambitions of construction.The 24 inch diameter pear trees that are to be cut on Somerville Ave are likely between 70 and 100 years old. They were most likely planted during the 1940s. These trees are a treasure left to us by prior generations that we are unable to replace.Mayor Curtatone's has made Somerville's status as a "tree city" a signature issue in his campaigns. I am asking the city administration to honor that commitment and to prioritize the maintenance and protection of mature trees both in these and in future construction projects.
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