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Mistake was made; now make amends

DEAR EDITOR:

I would like to offer some thoughts regarding the recent wanton destruction of city / public property — cutting down healthy, long-standing oak trees adjacent to the Women’s Park.

It is maddening and frustrating to see such disregard for the years of dedication and hard work of the many volunteers who made the Women’s Park a reality and who now maintain it. Symbolically, this is a slap in the face of the grassroots organization and many volunteers throughout the city whose efforts over recent years have reversed the spread of urban blight and brought hope for a better Warren.

How thoughtless and narrow-minded can a city official be?

In case the label comes up, this protest has nothing to do with “tree hugging.” It is about calling attention to an act permitted by a city official that amounts to vandalism and defacing of a piece of city property, one that is part of the grounds of Warren’s two iconic historic structures — the original mansions of the Kinsman and Perkins families. If this cavalier move to clear a space for a bocce tournament that is part of one civic group’s brief annual event, why then shouldn’t other similar groups be granted the same accommodation?

Just because someone has the authority to do something does not mean it is right to do it. Authorizing, allowing and directing the oak trees to be cut down adjacent to the Women’s Park was an arrogant abuse of power purely in the interest of a favored special-interest group. If the Italian festival can’t survive without bocce being played at this one historic and protected (we naively assumed) location, then the organization needs to re-examine its leadership and priorities.

Why was this travesty initiated as a covert operation, not openly through proper channels and without the input from various affected organizations? Why was a professional tree removal company hired to cut the trees down on Sunday morning? Fewer witnesses? And why should city taxes pay for this?

It is too late to save the trees and the beauty they added to the Women’s Park and the adjoining landscape of the two historic homes. The only proper and just resolution now is to halt construction of any bocce courts, restore the damaged ground and plant good-sized new trees.

A mistake was made. Admit it, and do whatever it takes to make amends.

BILL ABELL

Warren

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