Wheels of Government Turn Slowly
Still No Answer On Saving Trees In Longbrook Park
On the agenda at the regular meeting of the Town Council on March 14th was the Longbrook Park Tennis Court Replacement Project. The Council was to vote on authorizing Brian Snyder, of Snyder Associates, to proceed with engineering and design changes and preparation of a new set of construction documents for the Longbrook Park tennis courts at an alternate location in Longbrook Park.
According to Raynae Serra, Director, Department of Public Works for the Town of Stratford, a change of plans would need a geological test, i.e. how much ledge is there, to answer if can construction be moved; and what would be the cost to move the location of the courts. Serra said that she is unsure of the complete costs, as the company was ready to start construction two months ago, and at that time there were credits for starting on time.
Snyder Associates is an Iowa-founded, multidisciplinary engineering, planning, and design firm serving clients throughout the Midwest and nationwide that provide extensive civil and structural engineering services grounded in over 90 years of experience.
Once new plans are drawn they would be submitted to Parks and Recreation and Longbrook Park Commission who would then approve or reject the new plans, which again would go before the Town Council.
In a vote of 9-0 the Council authorized the new study.
What should be noted here is that there were several designs submitted before a design was chosen that called for tree removal. Referred to as Plan B, it was a design that did not need removal of trees.
As per regulations, the Town was obligated to serve notice of the proposed tree removal, and residents had 10 days to register comments. They did.
To put the public hearing in perspective, according to the Town charter any tree removals by the town require a formal notification, and, after 10 days, the removal is subject to a Public Hearing if contested. The notice of tree removals was posted on a Town website on December 20th, and 70 appeals were sent to tree warden (Kelly F. Kerrigan) which resulted in the public hearing being scheduled.
The removal of 2 old growth Maple and 6 old growth Oak trees at Longbrook Park so that 4 new concrete tennis courts could be built, as well as seating and lights. Note: present courts at Longbrook are clay. The original plan called for cutting down mature trees to make room for 4 new concrete tennis courts.
The notice of removal of trees sparked a Change.org petition, Save Stratford Trees, which generated over 659 people signing the Save Stratford Trees.
The Tree Warden (Kelly Kerrigan) conducted a public hearing on February 24th, 2022, based on the written submissions from the community contesting the removal of trees for a tennis court project at Longbrook Park.
The people who attended had an opportunity address their concerns to the Tree Warden. Based on the comments made at the public hearing, the Tree Warden requested that the Stratford Town Council review the project to see if fewer trees can be removed under an alternate layout.