Trees at the Veterans Memorial Building on Hartz Avenue at Prospect in downtown Danville will be removed this month, say Town officials, although work to renovate the historic building will not begin until June.
There is a window between February and the end of September when raptors are nesting in the trees, explained Town Manager Joe Calabrigo at the Mayor's Morning meeting last Friday, so the trees must be removed before then.
"Some of the trees are unhealthy and need to be removed," he said. "Some of the redwoods have been there since the late 1940s."
There is concern about the long-term structural stability of some of them, he said, especially given the extensive work that will be done on the site. The construction may impact the root systems of the trees; also these root systems could over time have a negative effect on the building's foundation.
"The Hartz Avenue and East Prospect property frontages are currently dominated by large redwood and cedar trees planted many years after the building was completed in 1925," according to an informational page on the Town Web site, which links to the new plans for the renovation. "Some of the trees fall within the new building footprint, necessitating their removal."
"It was not an easy decision," noted Calabrigo. "We don't have answers to those dedicated to tree preservation at any cost."
The determination on the trees was one of many difficult choices made during the 12 meetings of the task force between December 2008 and August 2009 to debate the best way to renovate the Veterans Hall to properly accommodate veterans groups and seniors programs.
"We tried to people know," Calabrigo added. "But change is hard. People aren't going to be happy to see them go."
The plans for the renovated Veterans Memorial Building call for new trees to be planted on the site.