Trees to be cut outside Erie County Hall

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Say goodbye to some of the oldest trees outside of Erie County Hall.

“Our goal is to ensure that any tree that can be saved is saved.” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz who noted that some of the maple trees on the sides of Erie County Hall will have to be cut down because their roots are pushing out the stone walls that surround the courthouse.

“The roots are growing into the foundation of County Hall. They’re also growing into the retaining wall and we don’t want the retaining wall to come down because it’s there, not only for looks, it’s also there to provide a security bunker so to speak so we don’t have to have bollards.”

State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent-Panepinto is asking the County to delay the project and get a second opinion. “Maybe it is just a communication problem and if it really has to happen, then maybe that’s the case but I think right now, there’s a lot of people who work in the building that have been hearing competing stories of why and are just upset at this point. so, if it’s possible to put it off if only for a week so that there could at least be information distributed to people who work in the building so people understand.”

The replacement trees are already outside County Court. There are seven honey locust trees ready and waiting to be planted. “Which are smaller trees so that we don’t have the damage until they grow to the same height, twenty or thirty years from now.” said Poloncarz.

The County Executive says the original plan was to begin cutting them Friday night, but due to the weather, he now says he will be talking with court officials next week and fine tune exactly which trees need to be taken down in the coming weeks.”It’s important that they know what’s happening in the building, but Erie County owns the building not the judges.”

Trees slated to be cut are on the Church Street and West Eagle Street sides of the building. Most of the trees on the front of the building on Franklin street will only be trimmed.

“Not every tree is going. I don’t want everyone to think we’re gonna cut down every tree by County Hall. That’s not the plan…only the ones that are causing damage.” said Poloncarz.

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