Save Lyndonville's downtown trees

To the Editor:

Recently I was browsing a downtown Lyndonville business and happened to overhear a conversation about the proposed removal of all of the Depot St. trees, including the one at the corner of Depot & Broad Streets in front of the Green Mountain Bookstore. You know the ones; put in a few years ago when the sidewalks were redone?

At that time, a local newspaper reported that the idea of sidewalk trees came about due to a suggestion from Ellen Doyle, past owner and wise sage of the Green Mtn. Bookstore. She not only knew the value of a community bookstore, but embraced a vision of Lyndonville's future -- one that would be visually appealing to natives and tourists alike. To look down Depot Street and see green, shady, and growing trees lining the business street would be an invitation to shoppers, especially on a hot summer day, or twinkling with cheerful, colored lights during the holiday season.

As I was drawn into the tree removal discussion, this is what I came to understand: some time ago a "prankster" apparently dumped a (liquid?) substance with the nefarious name of Murder in the soil around all (or most) of Lyndonville's sidewalk trees in an apparent effort to kill them off. Why? Who knows, except worse crimes are committed every day for lesser reasons.

The conversation further suggested that Lyndonville's "town fathers / selectmen" wanted to replace all the trees with cement buckets planted, I suppose, with annual flowers or shrubs and tended to by a beautification committee. I propose that these man-made, concrete planters are not only an eye-sore no matter how one pretties them up, but they are at a height to take out a toddler's eye , invite litter and cigarette butts to be tossed into the planters' soil, the soil must be renewed/replenished annually to raise attractive flowers and must be watered almost daily! To say nothing about careless folks sitting in/on them or being nudged by cars trying to park or downtown snow removal vehicles trying to remember their locations. Lyndonville would be retreating into the 1960s to revert back to these common, unimaginative and ugly containers!

I realize that at least 2 faux wooden potting vessels have been installed in front of Shear Sensations, and while they are an added attraction and decorative, they do not produce the same feeling as being under a living, growing hardwood tree.

Now, I am aware that some of the wrought-iron "cages" (with the custom-made bandstand logo) that surround the remaining downtown trees are easily "nudged" by cars as they park diagonally on Lyndonville's Depot St., but I would also offer that these cages might be more easily straightened up than dealing with crumbling, high-maintenance, dangerous cement buckets.

The discussion went further to offer solutions to the tree problem: Why not dig up and/or replace the current soil, flush the hole thoroughly, have the remaining dirt scientifically tested, replant the tree if it is still growing, or purchase a few new ones, replace the old soil with high quality clean soil and try again? And leave the healthy or even semi-healthy trees alone to see if they can recover on their own.

Some would argue cost, but when Ellen Doyle suggested trees along our business thorough-fare, I think she was trying to politely steer our local decision-makers away from an artificial look to a more natural and healthy appearance. Growing, green (or fall foliage) colors suggest a deep-rooted, committed, and vibrant community rather than your strip mall with all its asphalt and concrete. Even Railroad St. in St Johnsbury has a few trees!

Lyndonville now needs a warm, welcoming appearance now more than ever. Have you seen what's now across from the Rt. # 5 Bag Balm building ? That's a very first impression of Lyndonville that folks see as they drive into town.

Besides, the harsh, bold sunlight fades the merchandise in storefront windows.

Restore, renew and please replenish Lyndonville's trees !

And maybe the "Murder" prankster(s) have matured a little by now.

Bonnie Fleming-Richardson,

Sutton, Vt.


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