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Vandergrift Moves to Preserve Look of Borough Property

By Rossilynne Skena
Monday, July 26, 2010

Borough residents who cut down trees between the sidewalk and the curb could face a fine.

Those trees are borough property, officials say.

A new ordinance would enforce that by prohibiting residents from trimming or removing trees along the street — even those in front of their house.

Councilwoman Kathy Chvala leads the borough’s tree committee, which includes two other council members and four residents.

Chvala said the fine for a resident cutting down a tree along the street has not been determined.

She said the property owner would be billed for the cost of replacing the tree.

She expects council to consider the matter in September.

Chvala said she’s heard mostly positive feedback.

The only negative feedback she’s heard is from people who want to have a tree cut down when it’s healthy.

“We really want to maintain what we have,” she said.

But council president Brian Carricato said “trees are a very touchy issue in town.”

It’s not just residents who want to cut down healthy trees that they don’t want. He said but others insist on keeping dying trees standing.

Mayor Lou Purificato said property owners cutting trees down on their own doesn’t happen often.

Carricato said the committee wants to keep the town looking the way it does.

“The last thing you want to do is drive down a street with trees and now they’re all cut down,” he said.

Chvala remembers beautiful fall foliage along Vandergrift’s curved streets.

“There was a time that there was twice as many trees in town,” she said. “Probably more than that.”

Chvala likes to see healthy trees bloom again in the town with colorful autumn leaves.

Removing dead trees

While trying to save healthy trees, the borough has awarded a contract with a tree service to clear out the dead ones.

By fall, the tree committee will start placing those trees with healthy ones.

M&M Tree Service of Apollo has been awarded a contract worth between $4,500 to $5,000 for tree removal or trimming, Chvala said.

Nine types of dead trees will be removed along Hancock Avenue, West Adams Avenue, East Adams Avenue, Sherman Avenue, and Lafayette Street.

Eleven trees along Hancock Avenue, Sherman Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Harrison Avenue, Franklin Avenue and Lafayette Street will be trimmed.

The tree committee is looking for donations, Chvala said. Anyone who is interested in donating should contact the borough secretary at 724-567-7818.

Contributing writer Dale Mann contributed to this report.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633