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Letter to the Editor: Too Many Trees Destroyed

— No more trees.

When the Jefferson Houston School Project was first begun, there were a lot of people who wanted the trees to stay, all the trees. These were people that attended the school and residents of the community.

Several months ago during a storm, a tree on West Street fell becoming entangled in the overhead electrical wires. This tree was determined to actually be rotting and hollow from the inside out. Upon inspection by city staff and the school developer, it was determined that most if not all of the trees along West Street were suffering the same problem. The tree that had fallen was replaced by a young tree. Since then as construction began all the trees including the small young tree were removed. We were told that they would be putting the electrical wires underground, therefore they needed to remove all of the trees.

Well, if the wires will be underground, why couldn't they have left some of the trees? And, now that the trees are gone, why do they need to put the wires underground? This is not the way the rest of the block is, nor the opposite side of West Street.

Since then, the developer has removed more trees along Cameron Street. Three in front of the head start building, and there are more marked down Cameron Street and into the parking lot by the Olde Towne Pool. People have fought to keep the trees.

The developer and school officials have decided that eight of the existing trees should be allowed to stay along Cameron Street. While out walking with a friend, we investigated what other trees have been marked for destruction or removal. The trees that are along the parking lot by the pool, and into the alleyway are strong, well established trees. There are many birds and other wildlife that live in the alley, they live in the trees. Why are the developer and the city removing such well established trees?

Two of the trees are at the back corner of the pool, they are not big trees yet, but they are right next to the fence and building structure. The new driveway that will be built does not need to destroy our total existing grounds.

We are being so inconvenienced by this development, do they really need to destroy everything in the name of progress? They have taken away our basketball court; they have blocked any way of walking through the block. They have destroyed the playground that had been used by all the children in the neighborhood; they have taken away two basketball courts, all with the promise of replacing them in the next year or so.

In the meantime, our children have basically nowhere on the block to play. One can see they have reassembled some of the playground equipment in front of the current building along Cameron Street; this leaves very little space for the children to run and play. Jefferson-Houston did not have summer school in the current building, nor did they allow a summer program all due to construction. How are we supposed to feel safe and secure for our children when they have to attend this building in the fall? They have a whole school year they will have to attend during construction. The new building is set to be open for use in the fall of 2014. The construction will continue as once the new building opens, they will have to demolish the current building and build a new field, a new play area. How did anyone let this get so out of control?

Save our existing trees, keep the wildlife that lives in them safe. They have destroyed enough of our trees.

Bea Porter

Alexandria