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Five pear trees along Route 19 cut down; others' fate debated

| Thursday, May 15, 2003

The answer to the question "Whose trees are these?" still has no answer in the Perrysville business district.

And some Perrysville Business Association members were a little surprised to find that five of 30 Bradford pear trees along Route 19 had been cut down.

Linda Yon, president of the Perrysville Business Association, said the group is struggling to resolve a quandary: The trees planted along the corridor are too big for the sites they occupy.

Yon said she would like to see the association address the issue so that the trees are taken down properly and can be replaced by smaller ones.

"We'd prefer the property owners not do it," she said. "We have to make sure the (existing) trees are all out. We're concerned about future plantings."

The trees that were cut down stood in front of a building owned by Thomas Ravis.

Ravis said he cut the trees down to keep the sidewalks in front of his building from being displaced. His next step is to remove the stumps and replace the sidewalks.

Ravis, who believes the property owners should be responsible for the trees, said he needed to take action and was simply acting on the advice of an arborist hired by the association.

"We've had at least two meetings as a result of the arborist coming out, and he informed us that the trees cannot be salvaged, that they must be removed," he said. "It really is beyond the scope of our business association. We cannot undertake the business of removing and replacing these trees. The condition of the sidewalks is hazardous. Some action has to be taken."

Ravis, who is a member of the association's board, said he would like to see the group work with Ross officials to try to secure a grant for removing the trees.

He said he can understand the differences of opinions among the group members.

The trees along the street, which are about 10 years old, are raising slabs of concrete in some areas.

Perrysville Business Association members contacted Ross officials about the trees, but township manager Tom Lavorini said they are not the township's responsibility.

Whether the trees stay or go "is a decision made by the group," he said. "I defer to the Perrysville Business Association."

Grace Stanko, a former association president and current board member, said the trees are a "very touchy subject."

"It will cost $200 to $300 per tree to buy new trees. The people that really like trees are very concerned about it," she said. "The people driving by won't even notice."

Stanko said the group has been trying to upgrade the Route 19 corridor for some time.

"We're trying to get the gazebo repaired. That's on the schedule for May or June. We just had the lights cleaned," she said. "We have a lot of things going on right now, but just like everything else, it cost money."

Veronica Haberkost, another member of the association, said she understands the safety issues involved with the trees.

"The sidewalks have been an issue for a while, but we've been trying to pursue the proper channels as to how and who should take the trees out," she said. "It was a surprise. We're trying to go about it as a group."

Stanko said that safety has to come before the trees.

"They're just beautiful, but they throw a lot of debris on the sidewalks," she said. "They're too big for this type of purpose.

"More so than cutting down trees, it has to be a safe place The roots are damaging our sidewalks. Safety has to be a priority."

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