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Residents were horrified after the city cut down 32 trees along a College Point street last week as part of the work on the new police academy.
The street trees stood in sidewalk beds along 28th Avenue between College Point Boulevard and Ulmer Street, on the north border of the College Point Police Academy development, a $1 billion facility currently under construction.
Doris Scheer, a 50-year resident of the neighborhood, happened to drive by last Thursday and saw crews hired by the NYPD dismembering the trees before leaving a row of stumps in their wake.
“I came onto 28th Avenue, and there was a pile of limbs,” she said. “They were young trees. They were in bloom.”
The city Parks Department said some of the trees were unhealthy and needed to be cut down, although the agency could not be more specific as to the nature of the illness and how it was caused. Others were being removed specifically to make way for the development, but the NYPD will replace all the greenery with new saplings in the future, Parks said.
In total, the NYPD plans to fell 82 trees in the process of constructing the new 3-million-square-foot training facility, according to Parks, which signs off on tree removals but was not involved in planning the trimming nor hiring contractors to do the dirty work.
In this case, the NYPD hired an arborist who inspected each of the trees before they were lopped off at the base. To comply with city laws, another arborist from Parks also signed off on the removals.
All of the trees were between 3- and 6-inch diameters, and the NYPD will replace the loss of foliage with 132 new trees, according to Parks.
But Scheer, who also is a member of the College Point Civic Association, wanted to know why the NYPD had to kill the trees instead of just digging them up and planting them elsewhere, a question to which Parks did not respond by press time.
“If they were in the way, why weren’t they dug up?” she said. “That is the thing that bothered me. You could see all the little stumps.”
Wooden scaffolding designed to offer support for pliant trunks still stood around the stumps last Thursday.
The College Point pruning came days before several cherry blossom trees behind Queens Borough Hall were cut down to make way for a development project, according to Geoffrey Croft of Manhattan-based organization NYC Park Advocates. In that case of arborcide, the Borough President Helen Marshall also said some of the trees were diseased, according to Croft
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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