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‘Hate To See Them Go’

City Officials To Remove West Third Street Oak Trees

City officials will be removing 43 oak trees along West Third Street in Jamestown due to safety concerns because of the 100-year-old trees toppling down during wind storms. City officials will start removing the trees next week. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The West Third Street tree canopy is coming down.

On Thursday during a special meeting of the Jamestown Parks, Recreation & Conservation Commission, Dan Stone, city arborist, announced the decision that 43 oak trees, most of them more than 100 years old, will be removed starting next week. He said during the wind storm Nov. 15, two oak trees, with some of them as tall as 150 to 200 feet tall, were blown down, with one landing on a residential garage. In October 2019, a large oak toppled down, with portions of the tree landing on a residential house.

“It’s time for us to remove the 43 remaining oak trees on West Third Street in town,” Stone said. “I cannot make 100-year-old oak trees have roots that will sustain them any longer. As a precaution to public safety, I see them as a liability. We need to address this sooner rather than later.”

Stone said since the wind storm last month, he has been contacting the residents along West Third Street about the potential danger the oak trees present and the possibility that they will need to be cut down.

“It’s been a mixed bag of acceptance. Some people are upset about it, but they are understanding of what is going on and what we are dealing with,” he said.

An oak tree that toppled down on a garage along West Third Street following the wind storm last month. P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

Stone doesn’t know how long it will take city workers to remove the trees. He said it will depend on the weather. He added that it’s his goal to have them removed by spring time.

“It could be a couple of weeks. It could be a couple of months,” he said.

Stone said in the spring city officials will look to replant trees along West Third Street so a new “tree canopy” can be created. He said the new trees will have a maximum height of around 50 to 55 feet, which will be smaller than the current oaks. He added that the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, which annually makes a donation for new trees in the urban forest, will provide money to purchase new trees that will be planted along West Third Street.

Stone said some of the new trees that might be planted include American elms, tulip and ginkgo. He is also looking into purchasing some items that will help manage how the roots grow along the terrace. He added at the beginning of next year he will talk to officials from local tree nurseries about what types of trees are available.

“We will take a lot of things into consideration. The overall size, shape and color,” he said. “It’s a long stretch of road that will be an open slate to us and we can create what we like. I’m open to any suggestions from anybody.”

An oak tree that fell along West Third Street in October 2019 following a storm. P-J file photo by Eric Tichy

Stone said, like in past years when some of the oaks trees have been removed, the wood will be repurposed. He said the wood will be available to artist who might want to make a carving that could be installed along the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk. He also said the wood can be used for park benches and planter boxes. He added that anyone interested in repurposing the wood can call him at 483-7554. Also, he said anyone who has old pictures of the oaks along Third Street should make contact too.

Cindy DiNapoli, Jamestown Parks, Recreation & Conservation Commission chairwoman, said she trust Stone’s judgment when it comes to making the decision to remove the trees.

“I hate to see them go, but we got to do it,” she said.

John Bauer, Jamestown Parks, Recreation & Conservation Commission member, said he knows it “hurts” Stone to make this decision to cut down dozens of oak trees.

“We love our trees here,” he said.

Stone said city residents who live or travel frequently along Third Street should be aware that the highway will be closed at times during the removal process.

A formal plan on the tree removal will be discussed during the Jamestown City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

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