2011-04-14 / Letters to the Editor

Downtown project uncovers dying trees

New sidewalks are going in on Narragansett Avenue in downtown Jamestown. This is the culmination of a state project that has taken over a decade. When completed, the downtown will be more attractive and safer for pedestrians.

Several years ago, as part of that project, the state surveyed the trees along the road and identifi ed six in poor health for removal.

These were removed two weeks ago.

Two years ago the town hired an arboricultural consulting firm to inventory town trees. They also provided the town with a detailed report of the health of the trees on lower Narragansett, which showed that in the decade since the state survey was conducted, many of the trees not identified for removal had deteriorated.

When the sidewalk on the south side was removed it became evident that there would need to be significant root pruning all along the road. In addition, three large trees on the north side that had not been removed were pushing out the existing curb. It will be necessary to cut all roots on one side and several inches of the crown and trunk of these trees to be able to put in new curbing when the sidewalk on the north side is removed.

Using the outside report, the tree warden identified six additional trees on the north that would likely die as a result of sidewalk work. If these were to die in a year or two, the new sidewalk would have to be removed to replace the tree, and then the town would have to replace the sidewalk. This was clearly unacceptable.

On April 1, a recommendation was made to the Town Council to remove an additional six trees. Those additional trees were removed on April 8.

The town is committed to restoring the tree-lined look of Narragansett Avenue. This fall the town will supplement the trees the state had planned to replace. We are currently working on a revised replanting plan and when it is completed it will be posted on the town Web site.

James Rugh

Jamestown Tree Preservation and Protection Committee

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