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Tree replacements requested in Newberry

The city may be able to use a portion of the $25.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds to replant trees removed when the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reconstructed West Fourth Street in Newberry two years ago.

Residents whose trees were removed met with City Council’s public works committee Tuesday to seek a commitment.

In all, 51 trees were taken out overnight in an area less than a mile in length, leading to outrage from West End residents impacted who are asking for 40-plus trees.

The only trees that were replaced were eight of 10 trees that were removed on West Fourth Street between Race Street and Moore Avenue, said Margaret Tupper, a city resident.

“We’d really like the street trees without the need to ask each individual homeowner,” said Michele Frey, an attorney who also lives in the section and lost a tree in the project.

“We’re not looking to put trees in front yards,” she said. “We don’t need the city’s help with that.”

Chad Eckert, city forester, said if the funds are approved for the replacements, there are a variety of tree species that might work.

He offered honey locust and elm trees as examples. There also may be donors able to support the cost of tree replacements, he said.

“You will want to stay away from any sewer laterals and water lines,” said Adam Winder, acting director of the city streets and parks department.

PennDOT said it will not be able to return to the project until 2028.

A second work session on the use of the American Rescue Plan funds is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 30. The meeting will be held remotely on YouTube and accessible on the city website.

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