Yesterday morning as I left for work I noticed the no parking sign on a telephone pole near our house. The sign wasn’t there the night before, and I figured they were doing some street cleaning or something else minor. When I arrived home, I saw a view of my home that I had never seen in the five plus years I have owned it – a view without the 100 plus year old tree that stood taller than our three story house. During the day, someone had taken down the tree that provided shade and distinction to our home. To be accurate, the tree was on my neighbor’s side of our twin, but we still loved having it here.
What was crazy was that no one had any idea why the tree was taken down. It was healthy. While it was large, and was affecting the sidewalk slightly, I have seen much worse – all the roots were under ground. There were no phone lines or electrical lines that passed over the tree. No obvious reason to remove the tree. No note; no explanation. I called the neighbor, he had no idea. I called the city council president, she had no idea. I left messages for our council person and then left it for the night. This morning, I saw two men outside our house, I went outside and spoke to them. One as in charge of Conshohocken Public Works, the other an engineer for the company responsible for the job. Apparently there is a huge public works project to redo the street, curbs, and sewer system on our entire avenue – close to a mile long. As part of this project the city, who contracted the job out to a contractor, who sub-contracted the sidewalk work out to someone else. Those contractors were supposed to notify the homeowners that the trees were being taken – and didn’t. I spoke to the borough manager and he didn’t know they were taking these trees. No one knows anything apparently.
I spoke to the council president tonight and was told that we should have been told about the tree being taken. But I told her the fault was even greater – we weren’t even briefed on a job that one man called “the largest public works project that Conshohocken had undertaken in years”. When I said that we should have been informed, she said the township can’t inform people of every little project. She said it was in the paper (some local paper I think). She said it was discussed at council meetings (last one I attended, a fist fight broke out between two council people over parking). I told her, that Conshohocken’s joke of a website had no info. That they could have sent a letter. Something. A job of this magnitude should have warranted more than apologies.
Ineffectual leaders. This town is run by people without the communication skill to be cashiers, much less representatives. They will pass the buck, and say that it is the fault of the people they hired, but as a citizen we elect our officials and at the very least I expect them to tell us what bad decisions they make. I know that’s naive – but it’s the base minimum expectation. It’s always said that we need to be more involved in our local affairs – that local government has more impact on our day to day lives. It makes you feel very small to know that people in an office somewhere can make decisions like this without letting you know. Trust me, I’m going to be raising holy hell.
To add insult to injury, today they ground down the stump and in the process sent debris through the window of our neighbor’s screen door. The glass was cleaned up as well as the debris, but no note accepting responsibility – just a broken window.
What’s scary is that this is a 3 year project. It’s off to a banner start.