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Trees, especially mature ones, should be valued by community and corporate America

Posted 27 November 2016 at 2:39 pm

Editor:

How does it make sense to spend money to reduce property values and eliminate invaluable community assets?

The Albion Betterment Committee has advocated for trees in the Village of Albion since 2003. To our dismay several healthy landmark trees of incalculable value have been sacrificed, we believe, unnecessarily since then. They include two 125-year-old sugar maples on West Bank across from Archer Lumber at a reported cost of $1,600 taxpayer dollars.

Five independent experts, including Gary Plummer, Kevin Pilon and Dave Reville, confirmed to us that they absolutely did not have to be taken down to accommodate drainage improvements. The stunning hundred-year-old Austrian Pine on West Avenue across from Tops no longer stands at the western approach to the Village.  A hundred-plus-year-old red oak at the east end of Chamberlain is gone while trees of much lesser value remain at the site.

With the help of Daryl Moyer, Kevin Kent and Pete Panek, the aforementioned Austrian Pine was pruned—at no cost to the owners—two years before removal by its owners. Perhaps the Village’s most venerable tree, the huge beech on the corner of Beaver and Liberty Streets likewise received pruning attention 8-10 years ago.

ABC volunteers have planted, pruned, and watered 55 white dogwoods, several red and white oaks and numerous other trees in and around the Village. Tim and Linda Kirby donated about a dozen evergreens for the nursing home. Though these efforts were not “official”, as they are in Medina, they nonetheless are arguably beneficial.

Beeches and sugar maples are extremely difficult to establish in today’s environment. Those that are over 100 years old should be prized, as they are in the South, if only because they have monetary value. Oaks may be easier to establish as street trees, but a 150-year-old oak cannot be replaced until the latter part of the 22nd century—if it is planted now.

When living things get old, they typically develop health issues. That doesn’t mean they should be euthanized.

The 150-175-year-old year old American Beech that was recently taken down at Key Bank’s Main Street location in Albion needed some dead wood removed.  But it was otherwise a healthy tree, as the completely green stump suggested. In our view, removal, rather than pruning of yet another landmark Village tree, was extremely ill-considered. (We are well aware of the “cover” ostensibly provided by the liability argument.)

Key Bank’s decision to remove that particular tree suggests corporate America’s lack of familiarity with, and even indifference to, the historic character and essence of the community it aspires to serve.

We have some choices to make relative to the future of the Village of Albion.

Sincerely yours,

Gary Kent

ABC co-director