Northeast Times

City cuts down 5 trees after they are vandalized

Deep cuts: The city cut down five half-cen­tury-old trees on Roosevelt Boulevard be­cause someone had dam­aged them so badly they were in danger of fall­ing. COUR­TESY CITY OF PHIL­ADELPHIA

The city cut down five half-cen­tury-old trees on the west side of the 9400 block of the Roosevelt Boulevard on May 2 be­cause someone had dam­aged them so badly they were in danger of fall­ing down.

On April 30, a Parks & Re­cre­ation De­part­ment in­spect­or saw that the trees in front of 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. had been sawed on both sides al­most all the way through, Pa­tri­cia Crossan, a Parks & Re­cre­ation dis­trict man­ager, told the North­east Times in a May 9 email.

Crossan said it’s not known who is re­spons­ible, but it’s clear the in­ten­tion­ally dam­aged trees were a per­il.

“We know they were de­lib­er­ately cut in such a way that people could have been killed,” she said. “The trees were just hold­ing on. We got to them as soon as we could after be­ing no­ti­fied by our in­spect­or.”

That in­spect­or, Nick Traynor, spot­ted dam­age on the 50-year-old little leaf lindens that was not easy to see, Crossan said.

“Thank God he saw it. … His eagle eye, I be­lieve, saved lives,” Crossan said. “The per­son who had done this is amor­al and crim­in­al, and I’m so glad no one died be­cause of this.”

Mys­ter­i­ous dam­age to trees isn’t an every­day oc­cur­rence, Crossan said, but it does hap­pen around the city. And trees have been dam­aged be­fore on the 9400 block of the Roosevelt Boulevard. Trees nearby those re­cently re­moved were dam­aged and re­moved in 2011.

Those trees, some on the Boulevard me­di­an, might have been poisoned.

In Janu­ary 2012, the North­east Times re­por­ted that Coun­cil­wo­man Maria Quiñones Sánchez (D-7th dist.) said she had got­ten com­plaints about il­leg­al re­mov­al of trees in front of 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. She said the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Trans­port­a­tion had to re­move some trees from the Boulevard’s me­di­an. She said PennDOT sus­pects the trees and some grass were poisoned by a chem­ic­al that was sprayed, and re­ferred the mat­ter to the state De­part­ment of Ag­ri­cul­ture’s Bur­eau of Plant In­dustry for in­spec­tion.

The coun­cil­wo­man had said the own­er, which is lis­ted on city re­cords as Mer­ck Real Es­tate LLC of Blooms­burg, Pa., was cited for il­leg­ally re­mov­ing two trees.

Al­though an ur­gent-care cen­ter is planned for the prop­erty, the build­ing has been un­oc­cu­pied for years. It has, however, peri­od­ic­ally been the fo­cus of neigh­bor­hood at­ten­tion. In 2009, a pro­pos­al to use the prop­erty for a meth­adone clin­ic drew so much op­pos­i­tion from res­id­ents and elec­ted of­fi­cials that it was dropped. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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