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Queens Woman: Parks Department Rejected Detailed Study Of Neighborhood Tree Troubles

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A Queens woman says she is stumped by the city Parks Department.

Janice Derr made a detailed list of tree troubles in her neighborhood, but when she sent it to the department they said ‘no thanks.’

“I try to make it pretty because this is a corner house,” she told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello, “I paint the mailboxes when there’s graffiti on them, I pick up garbage, I try to be a good citizen to keep my community alive and healthy and attractive.”

A few weeks ago Derr took a drive through her Queens Village neighborhood and noted a number of tree stumps on city property that were waiting to be removed by the Parks Department.

Derr made a detailed survey that listed the specific tree troubles at 69 different addresses. She sent the list to the Parks Department and asked State Senator Tony Avella to follow-up.

“She did all the work. How dare a city agency tell her and me, ‘we’re not accepting this,'” Avella said.

In a letter, the department said that she would have to address each and very issue with a 311 call.

“I was floored. They wouldn’t even accept this, all this work, when it’s done for them,” she said.

In a statement the department said that information needed to be sent through 311 for processing purposes.

“We ask that all requests are submitted through 311 so that standardized, accurate information can be sent directly to our foresters in the field for quick inspection.”

State Sen. Avella was not satisfied with that response.

“When you have a survey like this they could easily plug this into the system,” he said.

Now, Derr and her neighbors have to call 311 to report every tree. You can’t fight city hall and apparently you can’t write to the Parks Department.

Even after notifying 311, homeowners found that there were long waits before any action is taken on tree stumps.

Due to budget cuts the backlog of stumps to be removed is estimated at more than 10,000.

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