Letter to the editor: Central Hudson and the Village of Rhinebeck Tree Commission
February 8, 2016
To our Village of Rhinebeck neighbors,
As we all engage in important dialogue about Central Hudson’s proposal to remove trees in our beautiful village, I wanted to shed light on a few things.
Contrary to some of what has been circulating, the proposal was presented by Central Hudson and the Village of Rhinebeck Tree Commission, NOT the existing Board of Trustees. I called the Tree Commission to task as soon as I heard the recommendation to cut over 100 trees in our beautiful community, as I refuse to believe that all of a sudden we had so many problematic trees. I personally feel that a sweeping removal project would have substantial negative impact to the look and feel of our historic village. Our trees are just as important to our character as our architecture and history are. I know that our trustees will do everything we can to protect the integrity of our canopy.
With some of those trees needing to be removed and replaced, the proposal by Central Hudson to provide the removal at $60 per tree brings a substantial cost savings for our village (in the past, we have paid upwards of $1500 per tree for removal). However, I pledge to do my part to MINIMIZE the number of trees that are removed. Our mayor, Heath Tortarella, has developed a solid plan to individually evaluate each of the marked trees, and we will look at everything from the overall health of the tree, to its prominence as part of our aesthetic, before making any decisions. The ultimate choice about which trees to remove will be up to our Board of Trustees, not Central Hudson. Please know that we are deeply committed to protecting our trees, and will not make any choices that we feel could adversely impact our village.
We will also continue exploring ways to protect our trees going forward, by discussing what guidelines can be put in place with regard to pruning and future removal and replacement. Ultimately, we would love to see a project initiated to move wires underground if funding such an extensive effort is feasible at some point in the future.
As always, I encourage my fellow village neighbors to get involved in this and other discussions by following our village board news and updates, or attending meetings (there is a meeting on this topic tomorrow evening, Tuesday, February 9, 2016). We take our roles as village trustees very seriously, and want to be sure that we always represent the best interests of the village.
Rhinebeck is unique and special, and we value the spirit of collaboration as we work to protect the character of the community we have all come to know and love. We need to hear from all of you in order to come up with the best solutions to a wide variety of issues; would love to see a big showing for the meeting tomorrow evening.
Scott Cruikshank, Trustee