Parks Department needs more funding to maintain boro trees

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Now that the new fiscal year for New York City has begun and the City Council has appropriated new budgets for all city departments, the city Parks Department must continue to fight for significantly more funding so that it can continue its very hard work of maintaining the city’s street and park trees throughout the five boroughs.

With tens of thousands of trees lining the city streets and parks, the Forestry Division has a mammoth task of managing their upkeep. There are many healthy trees, but there are also those that are not so healthy. Those unhealthy trees need to be removed in order to prevent possible injury, death or damage to property.

Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and each of his borough Parks commissioners need to appear before the City Council together and lobby for the necessary additional funding, so that additional tree pruners, climbers and inspectors can be hired.

In Queens, I was informed by the Division of Forestry that for the entire borough, there are approximately 100 tree inspectors. In Queens alone, there are 248,000 trees in our parks and along our streets. There is no possible way that 100 tree inspectors could be adequate to accomplish this herculean task. All of the personnel in the Forestry Division are very hardworking and dedicated to keeping our streets safe, and do a very fine job, but additional personnel are needed to further improve on the turnaround times for tree inspections, tree removal and tree pruning.

We are now into the thunderstorm season, as well as the new Atlantic hurricane season, which is expected to be above normal again this year, according to the NOAA and the National Hurricane Center.

After seeing the damage caused by tornadoes, macrobursts, tropical storms and nor’easters in the last decade, what more proof does the City Council need to significantly increase the funding allocation for the Department of Parks?

The people of this city should be able to safely walk down tree-lined streets and through city parks without having fear of a tree or branch suddenly breaking and falling, which could cause injury or even possibly death. We have already seen injuries and deaths from falling trees, which should have been totally preventable. This is a matter of public safety!

The very hardworking and dedicated men and women of the borough forestry divisions need and must have much, much more assistance through the hiring of additional personnel, but this won’t happen unless the Parks commissioner and his borough commissioners convince the City Council of the severity of the situation.

John Amato

Fresh Meadows

Posted 12:00 am, September 5, 2018
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Reader feedback

Source of funding for trees from queens says:
If we fine all of those who avoid parking fees by driving their motorcycles and sometimes even cars onto sidewalks and parking there we could support the Parks Dept tree projects. If we fine all of those who ride bikes the wrong way on one way streets or on sidewalks we could probably lower property taxes!
Sept. 5, 1:28 pm
JR from Bayside says:
Bloomberg's goal was to plant 1 Million trees. His elitist friends love that stuff. When this broken idea started I said and what about all the broken sidewalks and tree trimmings and watering that will be required. Now 10 years later they have to beg for money for these things. This is why big govt just wastes our money. My home taxes in 2008 were 3777 this year 7102, yeah find more ways to blow our tax money.
Sept. 5, 8:27 pm
UrbanMole from Brooklyn says:
Mr Amato the self proclaimed tree expert has it all wrong. He believes that street trees are actually managed by NYC Parks. The truth is there is no "urban forest" management of any of these urban trees from the moment they're installed right into maturity decades later. The care of trees or "Arboriculture' as it is referred has never existed in this agency. What is well known is that Parks practices a plant-it and walk-away tree planting strategy that many had hoped would have changed with the new administration-yet continues. What Amato should be pressing for is not just throwing even more tax dollars at this agency and its deplorable pruning practices but rather do the real tough job of rallying for more accountability and responsibility by this agency, whose core mission it is to preserve this urban forest.
Sept. 7, 4:11 pm

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