LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Beach residents are stumped and upset as hundreds of trees in the oceanfront town have come down.
Chainsaws roared through historic sycamores on Tuesday, but as CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, residents say many of the trees appeared to be healthy.
“It’s the loss of not having a beautiful tree lined street. These trees were over a hundred years old,” Fred Rondina said.
Residents said that even living trees that appeared to survive Superstorm Sandy are being axed. Once shady streets are now lined with wood chips.
“Some of the ones on this block are clearly blooming and just need a couple of branches pruned, and that’s it,” Ann Marie Klosky said.
Long Beach officials said the trees were inundated with salt water during Sandy, and now pose a safety hazard.
“A tree could fall and could hit a pedestrian or traffic. It can be catastrophic,” said Joseph Febrixio, Long Beach Deputy Commissioner of Public Works.
The city said that every tree was inspected by arborists with no financial motive.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying for the tree removal, and by FEMA standards a tree that is at least half dead must be removed.
However, in a city that rebuilt its boardwalk, its beaches, its businesses and its homes, some say that the trees could have been rehabbed.
“OK, maybe they’re sick and need help, but they’re coming back,” Carolyn Alvarado said.
City officials said that the trees will be replanted, but residents said that you can’t replace what mother nature nurtured for a generation.
Residents opposed to the removal were planning to voice their concerns at a city council meeting on Tuesday night.
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