Shade Tree Commission Reviewing Plan To Replace Hamilton Street Trees

7-28-16 Meeting - 1

Members of the township Shad Tree Commission review a plan to replace all the trees in the Hamilton Street Business District corridor.

A plan that would replace nearly 200 trees along the Hamilton Street Business District corridor is under review by the township Shade Tree Commission.

One aspect of the plan did cause some concern among members at their July 28 meeting: Planting the same species of tree in one of the several sectors along Hamilton Street.

The plan divides the corridor into several sections for ease of planning. In one of the sectors, the plan calls for planting Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry trees on one side of the street, and Prairie Pride Hackberry trees along the other side of the street.

“What I’m concerned about is what you run into when a blight hits a species, then you’ve lost a whole side of the street,” said commission chairwoman Sara Malone.

Commission member Bob Hudak said he will research the selected species to see how succeptable they are to disease.

The Hamilton Street Advisory Commission at its June meeting gave its blessing to the preliminary plan. The tree plan is part of an overall effort to revitalize the business district.

A total of 71 trees would be removed from both sides of Hamilton Street, from roughly Franklin Boulevard to the New Brunswick border, and replaced with 181 trees.

The consultant who prepared the plan, Dominick Pensabene of CME Associates, also submitted a list of nine species of trees that could be planted along the corridor.

“Other trees could work,” Malone said, but the trees listed have the best chances of surviving the conditions along Hamilton Street.

“I don’t think we want to have dwarf trees all downtown, because that would look terrible,” she said. “We do need shared trees in that part of the township.”

Commission members said they had no problem with removing the existing trees, even if they are healthy.

“It makes sense to start fresh with everything, rather than having one gnarly little tree” among the new trees, Malone said.

“The species are all a hodgepodge, too,” Hudak said.

Board members will review the selection of trees and their proposed grouping, and submit any comments to Malone by early in the week of Aug. 1. She will then send the comments on to the consultant, who will be before the commission at its August meeting, she said.

“When they do come to show us their plans, hopefully they will have addressed our concerns,” she said.


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