WEST PITTSTON — The borough council addressed concerns expressed by the public and one of its own members Tuesday about the uprooting of trees on Luzerne Avenue.
A number of trees have been cut down as part of the streetscape project.
“I’m one of the people very upset by this,” Councilwoman Judy Aita said. “I was totally caught off guard by the fact that so many trees were going to be cut down, even though we had public participation and a presentation this winter. The explanations don’t do it for me and, that being said, just because a tree is old doesn’t mean it has to be cut down.”
Aita also said she has been approached by borough citizens and has seen comments on social media criticizing the removal of the trees as part of the project which began earlier this year to repair damage caused by the 2011 flood.
Tom Reilly, borough engineer, said about 10 trees came down on Luzerne Avenue but assured the council those trees will all be replaced and more will be planted.
Council President Brian Thornton said the council members looked into the streetscape project over a year ago and were aware the trees would be cut down.
“The liability issue is there,” said Thornton. “Council does not take lightly the removing of trees. I love trees. I just planted two in my backyard. The sidewalks are heaving at a lot of these locations, and the curbs are busting out. So a lot of these trees are so overgrown that they’ve served their lifespan. Most of the ones we’re talking about on Luzerne Avenue were so butchered and cut in the middle of the tree they looked like a slingshot.”
In other business, the council members voted:
• To re-advertise a bid for the sale of a 2000 GMC recycling truck.
• To temporarily close Montgomery Avenue eastward along the property line of West Side Auto from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday for the annual Vettes for Vets Car Show.
• To assign a crossing guard for the First United Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School, which will be held June 27-30.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher