College Park Council discusses new plans for the tree trimming project near airport
College Park City Council made progress Tuesday night in talks with the city airport over a revised plan for cutting and transplanting trees in the area.
Earlier this year, officials tasked with felling trees at the airport instead removed more than 250 of them, citing concerns that they would not survive the cut and could prove dangerous to pilots landing at the airport. However, at a council meeting in February, councilors and local residents expressed frustration with the action, claiming they had been misled.
However, on Tuesday, Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation presented revised plans for the tree pruning and replanting project, which, after hearing the city’s concerns, was modified to include more details. District 3 city councilor Robert Day thanked us for turning the trend.
“You listened. You actually took the time to hear what the community and people around you were saying, “said Day. “That is the key communication that we needed so that we can work much more smoothly in the long term.”
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Christine Fanning, the district ministry’s department head for national and historical resources, stressed that a closer relationship between the city and the ministry may have helped avoid the confusion that had emerged earlier in the year. Fanning spoke out in favor of creating a partnership between the two that was “more proactive and not more reactive”.
The revised tree pruning plan calls for approximately 3,000 trees to be pruned in a manner that meets the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration. Fanning also said the trees will be felled every four to five years from here. Before the most recent pruning project, the trees had not been pruned for eight years – at the longer end of state pruning regulations that recommend pruning every four to eight years.
The revised plan also included an updated approach to efforts to minimize the environmental impact of ingredients. In the future, trimming will require minimal ground clutter, limited machinery, and expanded use of hand tools.
In addition, a total of 1,510 trees are being planted in the city and the surrounding area, 900 more than the legal requirement as to how many trees need to be replanted per tree removed. According to the plan, four will be planted for each tree removed. The city is currently working on replanting 120 trees and is expected to add 570 more in the fall.
Both pruned and newly planted trees are monitored every two years to see how well they are doing according to the plan.
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District 2 City Councilor PJ Brennan reminded officials of one of the city council’s final goals.
“I hope one of our ultimate goals is to return the canopy to the original scenario as much as possible,” Brennan said.
In her presentation, Fanning said that 70 percent of the newly planted trees would be used for this effort. However, she also expressed concern about the city’s apparent separation from the airport, a historic site.
District 3 city councilor John Rigg agreed. There is a lack of awareness of history and appreciation for the airport, he said. Instead, residents tend to view it as something that causes a stir from time to time.
“What I heard, and it won’t surprise you to hear this from so many residents when the trees fell, was, ‘Why do we have this damn airport in the first place when we all lose our trees every few years?’” Rigg said .
Airport manager Lee Sommer said he was also concerned about how underrated the airport was. However, he expressed hope for its future – there are plans to incorporate the site into the surrounding community and school system to make it a “neighborhood gem” again, he said.
“When people come out, they’ll have access to something they probably didn’t even know existed,” Sommer said. “We hope this will show residents that there is a lot more going on than they think.”