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Neighborhood Upset as City Starts Clearing Trees

Updated: Wednesday, August 27 2014, 06:33 PM EDT
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CLINTONVILLE (Ben Garbarek) – City crews are cutting down several old trees in Clintonville, and that’s raising some concern among neighbors.

Neighbors on Oakland Park Avenue said the trees on their block are what makes the area feel like home. “When you go up and down the street, it’s pretty much just a canopy,” said resident Arica Pendleton. “It’s going to be sad missing the trees coming down. It’s going to be like missing a piece of home. It’ll be different.”

Neighbors said they started worrying when “no parking – emergency tree removal” signs started popping up. Several trees have been spray-painted with a blue X.

“What makes this street so special and so important to so many people is the (trees’) color, the flavor, the hues, the size, the way it drapes over us and almost envelopes us in the community,” said neighbor Joe Miller.

The City Forester Joe Sulak said only four trees are coming down on the block, not all of them. He said the trees cut down are dying from an insect infestation called Emerald Ash Borer. “There’s no doubt the Emerald Ashe Borer is putting a hit on Columbus’s tree canopy,” Sulak said.  “We’re doing everything we can to make sure those spaces don’t stay empty long.”

The City said it is trying to replace all of the trees being cut down. So far Sulak said city crews have cut down 16,000 trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer and has planted 8500 trees to replace it. He said crews are struggling to replace the trees because the trees are being cut down year-round while crews can only plant new ones in the spring and fall.

Neighbors along Oakland Park Avenue said the new trees going in won’t be able to give them to same sort of shade they’ve come to love from the older ones coming down.

“It’s definitely going to be a change getting used to it,” Pendleton said. “It’s going to be like a whole new neighborhood almost.”Neighborhood Upset as City Starts Clearing Trees

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