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Tree talk divides Nashua officials

Union Leader Correspondent

August 14. 2014 10:16PM

NASHUA — Concerns about the city’s trees are dividing the aldermen.

“I am not against saving trees ... but I don’t think we need another committee to be in the way and cause problems when we have trees that need to come down in the city of Nashua,” Ward 6 Alderman Paul Chasse told his fellow board members this week.

His comment was in response to a proposal by Alderman-at-Large Diane Sheehan to establish a Tree Study Ad Hoc Committee to research and review possible tree policies, guidelines and legislation, while making recommendations about public trees.

The issue surfaced last summer when numerous mature trees were cut down and replaced as part of the $2 million downtown revitalization project. About 35 large trees were removed while crews started replacing all of the sidewalks along five blocks of Main Street. More have been cut down and replaced with smaller trees this summer as work progresses to improve downtown sidewalks.

Alderman-at-Large James Donchess said a committee and tree policy would allow for tree expansion not only downtown, but throughout city neighborhoods.

Alderman-at-Large Lori Wilshire said she supports the creation of a committee. She noted that several trees planted after construction was completed on Pine and Palm streets last year did not survive.

Alderman Ken Siegel, Ward 9, noted that the city already has an arborist to handle tree issues. Alderman June Caron, Ward 7, agreed.

Instead of voting on the proposal, city officials referred the matter back to the aldermanic Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee for further review.

Sheehan is proposing the new committee consist of three aldermen and at least one member from both the Board of Public Works and Nashua Conservation Commission. The Tree Study Ad Hoc Committee could then make recommendations for public trees, based on its research, to the Board of Public Works.

A comprehensive tree policy would provide guidance, authorization and standards for the management of city trees, according to Sheehan’s proposal, as well as planting, maintenance and removal of trees on public property or public right-of-ways.

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