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Elizabeth Price and several others led a tree removal protest on Xenia Avenue last Thursday. (photos by Lauren Heaton)

Village want to have their trees and defend them too

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A decision by the Village of Yellow Springs to remove the Bradford pear trees that line the streets downtown received disapproval from villagers last week, some of whom took to the streets in protest. Elizabeth Price, Chris and Whitney Till and Mateo Gregor were among those talking to passersby about the Village’s plan. Some held signs encouraging the village to save the trees, and others engaged residents in conversation about alternatives to the tree removal.

Village Manager Laura Curliss announced last month the Village’s plan to remove the pear trees as part of a downtown sidewalk and streetscape overhaul. The Village is currently in the process of repairing its sidewalks and had planned to repair several areas along Xenia Avenue downtown where the pear trees have caused the pavement to buckle and heave. In some cases the sidewalk has created a dangerous impediment to pedestrians, and in other cases the tree roots have damaged business structures downtown, according to Curliss. In addition, the Village plans to bury the power lines that run directly above the trees downtown, forcing the Village to trim the trees, a process that weakens and shortens the lifespan of the trees. Bradford pears, or Callery pears, are also a native of China and are considered to be invasive, according to both the Missouri Department of Conservation and a North Carolina State University urban landscaping program Web site.

Protesters also expressed disappointment in the Village’s sudden proposal to remove the trees without engaging residents in dialogue about the decision.




2 Responses to “Village want to have their trees and defend them too”

  1. Dan Plecha says:

    Does this mean that my scrumptious pear torte should now be re-classified as Chinese food?

  2. Tad Suiter says:

    I’m not a Yellow Springs resident, but I grew up in the area, and YS was always one of my favorite places in the Miami Valley, because it was a model of liberal thinking, inclusivity, and strong community.

    That said, if the sidewalks are buckling, as Curliss says they are, then this protest is really a pretty shameful example of ableist privilege.

    Sidewalk buckling can be a major impediment for disabled people. I understand that shade trees are nice, but if you’re putting the trees above your fellow citizens’ ability to safely traverse the public sidewalks, there’s something wrong with your thinking. You’re putting these trees ahead of the single mother with MS, the disabled veteran, the grandparent in a wheelchair. Is that really reflective of your value system?

    Yellow Springs has long been a town that made its reputation for valuing inclusivity and diversity. I hope that hasn’t changed.

    I understand the desire for public forum, but the ADA and basic morality both require that the town does whatever is in its power to ensure accessibility for all citizens.

    Literal tree huggers who value these trees that have no place there naturally over their fellow human beings are usually the stuff of conservative parody. I really hope these people stop for a minute and think about the implications of their actions.

    When you’re so privileged that wanting a dialog about shade tree removal is your biggest concern? It’s time to acknowledge that you’re a big part of the problem, on a local, national, and global scale.

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