So I’m downtown Thursday morning, sipping some coffee at with a friend, and we decide to do a little shopping further down the street. Imagine my surprise when we witnessed a beautiful, healthy tree go from being a regal part of the downtown landscape to mulch in less than two minutes. MULCH. My immediate response was, “WHAUCK!” (A favorite term from the blog, Rants from Mommyland, and much cleaner than WTF.)
Turns out (murder?!) of the Park Street trees is part of a Park Street beautification plan. Now, I usually consider myself a pretty informed citizen, but this took me completely by surprise. According to staff members of the businesses I went into, this has been part of conversations for at least the last three years. But, really, how does clear-cutting healthy trees helping improve the look of Park Street?
And let’s talk about the timing. It’s late October. The holiday season starts next month. Did you know that part of the plan includes tearing up the sidewalk? I do not see how removing trees and pulling up the sidewalk during the peak shopping season will help the Park Street businesses. I’m sure the Park Street Business Association worked hard to advocate for the beautification of Park Street, but where was PSBA when the dates were set?
If I were a business owner on Park Street, I’d be insisting that PSBA make some changes to better represent Park Street Businesses! Maybe they have, and I’ve just missed it. And if part of the plan is to replace those , I hope there’s a plan (and funding!) for the care of those trees because most of the ginkgo trees planted further down Park Street, in stage one of this beautifcation effort, are spindly, broken or dead.
So I write this today and I think of Dr. Seuss’s Lorax: “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” Let's hope PSBA has better luck than the trees!
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to make sure you shop downtown, go see a movie, and support our local businesses during this ill-timed “beautification” effort. At least you’ll get more sun while you shop.