NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — Newly planted trees are dying of thirst and withering away, complain some Nassau County residents.

Their historic trees were chopped down to make way for safer sidewalks, but they said the replacement saplings seem to be forgotten.

“They’re dying, they’re absolutely dying,” Seaford homeowner Darryl French told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

French and his neighbors want answers. Why are vulnerable, newly planted saplings dying in such great numbers?

“Why doesn’t somebody finish a job when they start something?” he said.

Although part of a controversial multi-million dollar Nassau county project to repave sidewalks, some see allowing young trees to wither away, seemingly in need of water and nourishment, as morally wrong and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

The county attributed the tree trouble to the dry summer, and said they tried to water them.

“New trees were planted after sidewalk repairs and will be replaced by the contractor if they did not survive,” a county official said.

CBS2’s cameras were on the scene last year when 160 majestic beech, oak, and maples on Seaman’s Neck Road, and more than 200 along South Oyster Bay Road were axed so that roots could be ripped out and fresh sidewalk concrete poured.

“That’s why we moved to Long Island for the trees, we don’t need that many sidewalks,” a resident said.

Civic groups tried and failed to stop the project, in the end courts ruled Nassau had the right to remove trees to fix sidewalks in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The trees do destroy sidewalks and make it difficult for seniors to get around, but environmentalists argue that there is a better way.

“Not only did they preserve the trees in Los Angeles when they redid all their sidewalks, but New York City routinely repairs the sidewalks without destroying the trees,” Richard Brummel said.

The Save Our Trees Group is now filing an appeal. They don’t want the judge’s past ruling to be precedent setting. Seaford residents also claim the county chipped down more trees than it replaced.


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