Put the Road Builders to Work,
But First Cut Down the Tall Trees
There is a good deal of debate over how successful the federal “stimulus” program has been in terms of creating jobs by undertaking various public works and other civic projects.
Which brings us, of course, to the construction of an expanded sidewalk as well the addition of a new access ramp from and to the existing bike trail at Jackson Street.
We don’t know how many jobs this project is creating, but it certainly is stimulating the rearrangement of the landscape. I recently read about the earlier work of the CCC during the Great Depression, and one of its greatest legacies was to plant—rather than remove-- millions and millions of trees.
If I were Daniel Polachek and family whose house, front lawn, and a large stand of nearly 60-year-old blue spruce trees are feeling the effect of the construction, I’d feel pretty much as if I was under assault.
But talking to Dan recently, I got the impression that he is
reconciled to the inevitable, although not entirely happy with what is going on in front of his home. Given the federal and state nature of the road project, whatever land and countless trees had to go to make way for the widening project, so be it. He said he did not get much sympathy about his plight in response to his calls to his city councilor and the mayor’s office. That bugs him a little.
The 10-foot-wide sidewalk being built in front of his house is gobbling up a good deal of frontage, and in some sections actually causing a narrowing of the Jackson Street roadway by about a foot, which could create future traffic bottleneck for an already heavily traveled, narrow street.
Meanwhile, Dan has been able to prevent the cutting of the
remaining towering spruce trees, also originally planted by his father-in-law John Gare, in 1951, along the frontage from his home to Barrett Street. Anticipating the recent loss of so many of the other mature trees, he has planted a total of 500 tiny spruce seedlings in his side yard. In time, perhaps several years, they should be ready to transplant along the frontage of his property and eventually will provide excellent protective cover from Jackson Street traffic for his home, perhaps sometime by 2030 or 2040.
Dan and his family should be around to enjoy them then, although some of us who value old growth trees will be long gone.