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With donation, trees to be replanted along Main Street this spring

Published 12:38 pm, Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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  • The Westport Downtown Merchants Association paid to have trees removed along Main Street last year, replacing the empty spots with new brick, foreground. Donated trees will facilitate replacement of some of those trees this spring, officials were told Wednesday. Photo: File Photo / Westport News
    The Westport Downtown Merchants Association paid to have trees removed along Main Street last year, replacing the empty spots with new brick, foreground. Donated trees will facilitate replacement of some of those trees this spring, officials were told Wednesday. Photo: File Photo

 

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The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday to accept donation of 34 nursery trees, valued at $8,664, from Planter's Choice Nursery LLC in Newtown.

"I hope some will end up downtown this spring," Selectman Avi Kaner said prior to the vote.

Kaner, since last year's local election campaign, has advocated for replacement of trees that were taken down along the southern stretch of Main Street under direction of the town's former tree warden, who had met with representatives of the Downtown Merchants Association to plan the removal.

Chopping down the trees, however, sparked controversy, and the town Tree Board subsequently questioned the propriety of decisions made to cut them down and demanded they be replaced.

The barren appearance along lower Main Street also provoked criticism from several candidates during last year's campaign, with Kaner particularly outspoken in favor of replanting efforts.

And during the holiday season last December, a zing-zagging single string of lights between Main Street buildings, in place of the many white lights that traditionally bedecked the lost trees, provoked more complaints.

Stephen Edwards, director of the Department of Public Works, said a number of the donated trees would be "appropriate for downtown," adding others would be planted at various town properties, like Longshore Club Park.

He said the trees are currently "dug in," or in "temporary mode at Longshore," until it's time to plant them.

Don Bergmann, a Representative Town Meeting member, asked if the trees are "fully grown."

"They are 2 inches to 4 inches in caliber and 12 to 15 feet in height," Edwards said.

"This is a magnanimous gift," Edwards added. "It's certainly a good-will gesture."

He said the nursery made the donation because it had "very large stock" of trees still available at the end of the year.