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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Timber! Longshore's ailing giants chopped down despite storm

Published 1:12 pm, Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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  • Crews at work Tuesday morning cutting down trees along the entrance to Longshore Club Park. The old trees hasd become damaged and diseased over the years, and became a safety risk, according to the tree warden. Photo: Jarret Liotta / Westport News contributed
    Crews at work Tuesday morning cutting down trees along the entrance to Longshore Club Park. The old trees hasd become damaged and diseased over the years, and became a safety risk, according to the tree warden. Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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Tuesday's winter storm delayed and shut down many things around town as the snow began to pile up, but it failed to halt operations to cut down 15 large, but deteriorating, trees lining the entrance to Longshore Club Park.

Despite the snow and frigid temperatures, hardy crews of tree workers moved forward with the job of cutting the 11 tulip and four Norway maples that were the last remaining trees from a stand of about 100 trees planted on the property more than a century ago.

The plan to cut down the trees was recommended in December by town Tree Warden Bruce Lindsay because of the disease and damage they suffered over the decades, causing the weakened trees to pose a safety risk to the public and a liability risk to the town.

But when the tree-removal plan was announced it prompted a public outcry, and First Selectmen Jim Marpe ordered a delay to gather more information and to host a public inspection of the trees.

After that Jan. 11 meeting at Longshore, officials affirmed the decision to cut down the trees.

In a statement making the official decision on the tree removal, Marpe said: "This recommendation was an extremely difficult one to make given the age and size of the trees, as well as their iconic presence at Longshore."

But the first selectman said he found compelling Lindsay's finding about the "safety issue" posed by the trees' deteriorating condition, and added: "Most of the larger trees along the entrance drive have already come down over the years and, as stated during the information session, the removal of the additional trees reflects the final stage of a landscape plan which has been in place for over 20 years."