Let's not mince words. The mangling of trees along roughly seven blocks of Broad Avenue was not "overzealous pruning." It was painful.
As a city, our trees are among our most precious resources. Urban trees aid in oxygenation, reduce CO2 levels, lower heat indexes around cities and reduce heating costs in houses. Surely, if none of the natural benefits tickle our fancies, a reduction in heating costs will make us sit up straight.
As a 21-year resident of the Broad Avenue area, I have bore witness to the removal and overzealous pruning of many trees, making way for road repair, sidewalk work and paving. My neighborhood has lost and is still losing more than 50 percent of its trees, leaving us to watch as the cold concrete swallows up the place that we call home.
I understand that many trees pose a serious threat to the integrity of our infrastructure. This cannot be argued. Yet surely we can find better solutions in our city than the simple removal of trees, as evidenced around the Broad Avenue area.
As a child, I played in those trees. They bore witness to the growth of a whole generation of children. They were our playgrounds, our fortresses and our homes. Let's not let these fall to the wayside. When we cannot prevent the removal of these precious resources, let's focus on following through on the plan to replace them - on Broad Avenue and across the city.
We can make this city green again, and we can give our children the inheritance that they deserve - more than a city, a home.
John Moist, Altoona