Kathleen V. Jagielski, 50 Year member of the Brooklawn United Methodist Church
Beat Redskins? Reid passes | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/22/2008


TIP (Received Saturday, Dec. 20)-I talked to the contractor planting the trees in front of my house today. He said they planted over 350 of the 500 trees but had to stop due to a letter from the state that said the city was supposed to ask the citizens permission to plant the trees in front of their property and they hadn't done that. They also asked the contractor if he would do it and he said it wasn't his job it was the city's all he was here to do was plant them. He was shown the letter yesterday. The state took the trees and told the city they could try again next year if they followed the proper procedure.

Why does our city always do everything 1/2 way and with a 1/4 of the information? Maybe reading instructions should be a job requirement.

I confirmed the TIP is true after speaking with several people involved with the project. None of who wanted their names made public.  One source said the City’s "Municipal Contact" with the Cool Cities people messed up. He/she was instructed to obtain residents permission to plant the trees ahead of time.

Last week when the trees were being planted in the Riverview Heights area I watched a confrontation develop between a resident on South Stinson Avenue, who didn’t want a tree, and representatives from the state. The resident was adamant in his stand. The sides went back and forth over a two day period. At one point three police officers stood at the intersection of Thompson and Stinson Avenues watching the event develop.

The second day when the contractor tried to put the tree in front of his house, the man drove his pickup truck up on the sidewalk to block the spot. No further attempt was made to plant the tree. I asked the state representative why not take the tree elsewhere and plant it. Why fight with the people. I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer. Basically I was told the people were given two opportunities to say if they didn’t want a tree. A flyer was handed out, and a post card was sent to each home. Since they didn’t respond the contractor was committed to planting the tree at that spot.

The resident argued that he just moved into the house. That the house had been empty for months; and therefore he didn’t receive notification.

The 150 trees, which cost $250 each, or a total of $37,500, have gone to another City. They were scheduled to be planted this coming week in the Highland Park section of the City. The trees that have been planted in the Riverview Heights area look beautiful. The contractor hired by the state did a first class job. On Saturday he was back putting mulch around each tree. I can’t wait until spring to see them all in bloom.

Notebook_and_pen ~BILL CLEARY

Related: Cool Cities Program comes to Gloucester City