Expert Says Nearly Two Dozen Linden Trees Near School Have To Go, But Residents Hope There Is A Way To Save Some Of Them

NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Majestic trees that shade a Rockland County village soon may be firewood.

Residents say they are heartbroken to lose a row of 22 massive Linden trees, planted almost 100 years ago. But village officials say it’s a matter of safety, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

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His daily walk takes Rob Nahoum past a row of magnificent trees and he never fails to marvel at their beauty.

“One of the things I most look forward to is the trees, but my enjoyment has to be trumped by safety of the people here,” Nahoum said.

The 22 Linden trees planted on North Broadway almost a century ago are icons of Upper Nyack. But their days appear to be numbered. The trees are on property belonging to the private Summit School, which hired an arborist who said they must come down because every tree has damage and presents a danger.

CBS2’s Aiello took a look at “tree 9” and could see a sizable wound and signs of termite damage.

Across the street from the Linden trees, there is a spot that is a reminder why their health became such a concern. The massive tree that stood there fell in May of last year and struck a car, killing 80-year-old Jerome Muhlenberg.

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The Lindens loom over Upper Nyack Elementary School, which has raised concern.

At Village Hall, clerk Carol Brotherhood said this report gave officials no choice.

“Once we receive a report like this we’re on notice. Those trees are hazardous. The village board are charged with the responsibility for public safety,” Brotherhood said.

But resident Florence Katzenstein and many of her neighbors feel there’s been a rush to judgment. They’re not convinced every tree is beyond saving.

“I’m almost willing … I think I would tie myself to the tree to save it. You just don’t arbitrarily do this sort of thing,” Katzenstein said.

On Thursday, workers were trimming upper branches. Many here feel like they’re losing old friends.

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The village told the Summit School to develop a landscape plan to replace the trees, but, of course, the new trees will be a fraction of the size.