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Fourth Street trees deemed safe for at least one more year

In a little noticed  development, the city of Bremerton’s tree committee has voted to postpone any decision regarding the removal of trees on Fourth Street between Pacific and Washington avenues.

That announcement was made in an Aug. 28 letter sent to stakeholders by Milenka Hawkins-Bates, the Administration Division Manager for the Public Works Department, who oversees the tree committee which had met one month earlier.

In her letter, she noted that many area business owners are in favor of removal and replacement with more appropriate trees, while many residents are opposed to any kind of removal.

In the letter, Hawkins-Bates noted two arborist reports indicate that the trees should be removed and replaced while many business owners also want to change Fourth Street into a two-way street.

She said tree committee members questioned the approach of removing and replacing the trees in light of the fact that a Local Improvement District may be formed to reconfigure the street.

“It was suggested by thecommittee to prune the current trees until further plans are made,” Hawkins-Bates wrote. “An estimate of time for future plans would be in one to five years. Pruning the current trees will take approximately two days with a street closure for clean-up.

“A motion was made and approved by the tree committee to postpone tree replacement on Fourth Street and to re-visit in a year, with a current plan to prune trees at a later date.”

Prior to the formation of the tree committee, several residents spoke in favor of keeping the trees. One of those vocal supporters was Greg Jose, who chairs the city planning commission.

“What kind of Tree City USA takes out beautiful trees like that?,” Jose said. “Every single picture of what we want our city to look like has trees in it. And not just skinny little trees. They’re big, voluminous trees that provide shade and cool the neighborhood. Of course, many cities are struggling to recover the tree canopy that they’ve lost over decades and decades of urbanization.”

The first session of the tree committee on May 31 was closed to the public. The committee subsequently met two more times, July 15 and 24. It was during its last session that the group agreed to postpone any action on the trees.

 

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