This letter is in regard to the 175-year-old historic Scarlet Oak tree on Lum Field. The Shade Tree Commission has voted, after consulting with three arborists (tree experts) that the tree is healthy and worth saving and that precautions would be taken to ensure safety.
The tree requires some serious pruning, treatment for carpenter ants and a deep root fertilizer in order to obtain another 30 to 50 years out of this town tree. The Borough Council, in its similar excellent due diligence, is leaning towards the position that in the interest of 100 percent public safety, the historic tree be taken down and be replaced by several new trees, which might someday grow to be as majestic as the subject Oak.
I have proposed a middle course. Install four footings at least eight feet to the east of the tree. The footings should be at least eight to 10 feet deep. To each footing, attach bridge cable wire to wrap around the tree in order to create a gravitational pull such that IF the tree were to ever fail, the only direction it could fall is to the east, towards Fairmount Avenue.
Simultaneously, erect a Victorian type fence around the perimeter of the tree, sufficiently far away as to prevent a dead branch from breaking off or being blown down by a storm and injuring a passerby. The funding for all this work could come from a foundation created specifically for the work on this tree.
Borough residents and others would be generous in response. In this fashion, both the tree and the playing fields can co-exist. Children can play and at the same time learn and cherish a historic tree.
I know the recreation committee is hard pressed for playing field space and I want to do the best I can to provide them space; at the same time, I would like to preserve a Borough landmark. I believe my proposal can do both.
Before any action is taken, I believe my proposal is deserving of serious consideration.