Letter to the Editor: Dover’s trees

When talking about Dover’s trees, it is important to first read what has probably been overlooked, the City of Dover Charter. Here’s the section that deals with trees, copied right from Dover’s Charter:

“ARTICLE V. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS”

Sec. 51. Trees.

“Trees being among the chief beauties of the city, and their preservation requiring that they be treated with special care and intelligence, the city manager is empowered to appropriate annually an amount of money adequate for their care and preservation. The city manager may be given authority to take necessary or appropriate action to prevent injuries to trees from electric wires or from any other source or cause whatsoever, and to combat the pests and diseases to which they are subject, and when necessary to employ tree experts provided that they do not exceed the appropriation made by the council.”

As I read this, it’s the city manager’s right and duty to make decisions about the city’s trees, and if given the authority by council, to do so. It doesn’t say city council should get into the decision-making process about which trees get cut down. Council just needs to appropriate the money.

The trees on Loockerman Street are now overgrown and should be cut down. I like the idea of replacing them with potted trees. This makes a whole lot of sense. You can find photos online of historic downtown Dover. No trees! So you cannot use the “historic preservation” argument. In fact, Loockerman Street looks very attractive in some of those old photos. Maybe a treeless Loockerman Street would be an improvement.

As one who doesn’t think sidewalk cracks are a problem needs to talk to people with walkers or in wheelchairs. I know, from pushing my late father around in his wheelchair, the slightest unevenness in the sidewalk can create problems. All sidewalks need to pass the wheelchair test: Put 250 pounds in a wheelchair and start walking the sidewalks with it. You will quickly see the problem.

James Webster
Dover