The twenty-nine charming yet somewhat malodorous Callery pear trees that line North Main Street in Wallingford do more than just embellish. The trees act as a frame for the downtown area, transforming the street from a mere collection of shops and restaurants to the centerpiece of town. However, a stroll down North Main Street has also included “Public Notice of Removal” signs plastered across the post-blossoming trees.
On Monday, a court hearing might determine the fate of the trees. Gina Morgenstein, a Democratic candidate for Town Council, filed an objection to Corporation Counsel Janis Small’s dismissal of a lawsuit that would prevent the trees from being removed and replanted for money-saving purposes. According to the town’s Greening Committee, the opinion of expert arborists is that the trees pose no cause for removal.
The town has an obligation to spend money efficiently. However, the town should also seek to make a walk downtown as pleasurable as possible for Wallingford residents and visitors.
Keeping downtown Wallingford beautiful is not just for aesthetic purposes; it encourages outdoor walking, which contributes to public health, and patronage to small businesses, which expands the local economy. The flora of Wallingford act indirectly as a tool of community building.
Wallingford has a shaky history with tree removal. On multiple occasions, residents have voiced concerns about tree removal projects. That the case of the Callery pear tree removal is winding up in court does not reflect positively on town leadership’s ability to listen to its citizenry.
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