Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Residents bark over West Acton tulip tree's fate
A tulip tree on Spruce Street near the intersection with Arlington Street has grown so large that its roots and trunk are damaging the sidewalk next to it to the point that it is impassable for people in wheelchairs, a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The tree has also made the sidewalk narrow and difficult for children and parents with strollers to pass.
What we knew
Dean Charter, Acton’s tree warden, held off on cutting down the approximately 40-year-old tree after residents objected to a proposal to remove it during a hearing last fall. The level of opposition to removing the tree sent the issue to the Board of Selectmen for a decision.
Roughly two-dozen residents attended the board’s March 23 meeting to again object to the removal of the tree. No one in the crowd of attendees spoke in favor of cutting down the tree, but officials reaffirmed that the condition of the sidewalk is an obstacle to people with disabilities and will worsen as the tree continues to grow. The Board voted unanimously to continue the discussion at the board’s May 4 meeting.
Town staff will look at various alternatives to cutting down the tree, including building a ramp over the its roots, extending the sidewalk further into the street to get around the tree’s trunk or installing a sidewalk made of rubber.
The Painting is by George Caleb Bingham