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Outcry halts tree cutting in South Greensburg park

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Thursday, July 10, 2014, 11:15 p.m.

Tree cutting at South Greensburg Community Park has come to a halt — at least for now.

The timbering stopped on Tuesday, according to Deb Muse, president of a citizens committee formed in opposition to logging the oak and hickory trees.

“They have temporarily stopped,” Muse said on Thursday. “They do have a proposal they want to present to the community that they think will make us happy. ... What the proposal is, I have no idea.”

The proposal is to be presented when council meets at 6 p.m. Monday.

The tree cutting “is on hold,” said Councilman Bob Thomas, who met with some of the residents this week. “I talked with the people, and we have an idea. We're going to present it then and see what they (council members) think.”

Thomas declined to reveal the proposal.

About 20 people packed council chambers on Monday to protest Mt. View Lumber of Smicksburg, Indiana County, harvesting the trees in exchange for payment of $10,000. That's too low, residents and forester Bill Paxton contend.

Council planned to use the proceeds to make improvements in the park, Thomas and council President Clentin Martin said.

The contract does not specify how many trees are to be cut.

Muse said she has received numerous calls since Monday's meeting from others who opposing cutting down the mature trees.

Thomas, who said he knows other residents who support the timbering, estimated that about 70 trees have been felled.

Council wanted to cut the trees to get rid of dead ones and bring more sunlight to the area to stop moss or lichen from growing on buildings, Thomas said.

Some trees need to go so restrooms can be moved closer to pavilions, Martin said last month.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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