warning: file_exists(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/../ad_/ad_cache_.inc) is not within the allowed path(s): (/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/:/tmp/) in /var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/ad/adserve.inc on line 160.

Gains an assessment, loses his trees

By Rich Glennie
First the disclaimer: I am not a tree hugger. Being a northern Minnesotan, I was raised in a pulp and paper-making community where trees were cut down by the thousands and made into paper products. So I have no sentimental attachment to trees. Trees up there are like corn and soybeans down here. They are a commodity.
But I do like trees. One, they look nice and provide shade; two, they spruce up the overall appearance of a community; three, they are a vital cog in our survival. They absorb carbon dioxide and exude oxygen. I like trees for a practical reason: I like to breathe.
So it is perplexing to me, as the city prepares for its latest tree purge called the central storm sewer project, that our leaders have such a tree phobia. Not just any tree, but mature trees. Trees that have taken a generation or more to grow tall enough to be beneficial to the overall appearance of Glencoe. Literally, they beautify the city.
But in the past four years, Glencoe leaders have been removing mature trees by the truckloads to make way for reconstructed city streets and underground utilities. Trees are simply in the way.
Second disclaimer: I understand trees are a renewable resource. Thankfully.
The question is how fast will they regrow, and will I live long enough to enjoy their shade again. Not likely.
As one can see in traveling through the Lincoln Park, Armstrong and Baxter Avenue areas after street reconstruction took place, the mature trees were replaced by scrawny saplings that provide shade only to the dogs who stop by to lift their hind leg.
I strolled through those neighborhoods recently, and the old canopied, shaded lanes are now bare areas featuring sticks for trees. The changes in those neighborhoods are dramatic.
I also took a stroll around my neighborhood on 14th and 15th streets and counted 23 mature trees with a big red “R” spray painted on their trunks. They will be removed as part of the central sewer work. I imagine the denuded areas on the west end of the city as the future look for my neighborhood as well.
I’m not sure city leaders fully appreciate how much a neighborhood changes when its trees are removed. It simply will not be the same neighborhood. But that never seems to be considered in the planning process.
To add insult to injury, several city workers asked me if I wanted to keep my boulevard trees. I said I did. They marked them for removal anyway. So why ask?
Last disclaimer: If city staff had simply said the boulevard trees and sidewalks are city property, that would have ended the conversation before it started.
So what do I get for my nearly $12,000 in assessments at 4 percent interest over the next 15 years?
I get new water and sewer mains, which I don’t need. Mine work just fine now.
I get a newly reconstructed street, which I don’t need. The street still looks fine.
I lose two mature trees. And I get replacement trees, which by the way I need to water, even though they will be on the city’s boulevard.
But does this expensive project prevent future flooding in my area? No guarantees.
By the time I’m 87, I should have it all paid off.
Wow, what a deal!
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014.