Dear Gazette Editorial Staff:
I am writing in response to Mr. Navin’s concern in reference to the removal of the large white willow trees in Ballantine Park this winter. The large willows had exceeded their healthy life expectancy, and they no longer provided the shade and safety we enjoyed. Several professional landscape experts were consulted. A New York State Forester, and a landscape architect suggested something should be done with the trees based on the amount of dead limbs in every one of them. Pruning them was not an option; in most cases only one or two live limbs would have been left.
Ballantine Park is managed by a small group of volunteers. We feel the Park should not become a liability if it can be prevented. We are always looking for new members. The Park is supported entirely by private donations for its maintenance and upkeep. No tax dollars are used.
It became quite clear, after the Central Park incident, when a falling branch killed a child, that we were trying to prevent the inevitable.
I have been able to obtain the funds needed from a member item provided by New York State Senator Bonacic to pay for the tree removal stump grinding and the clean up. I have received a grant that will be used to provide a master plan for the park in the next few months. We intend to seek additional funds from Delaware County Soils and Water to help us remove the Japanese Knot Weed that grows along our stream. The Knot Weed is a very prolific and invasive species, and very hard to remove.
The committee intends to replant a number of trees that are appropriate for our soils and climate. We plan to ask members of the community if they would like to purchase a limited number of trees to be planted in the park. Additional benches will be added to the park in the near future.
I join Mr. Navin in thanking the Gazette staff for the fine public service you provide.
Martin A. Donnelly,
Andes Town Supervisor
I really liked Mike Suchorsky’s piece last month and let him know that. Maybe you could recruit him as a regular.