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The Village of Lewiston Board voted Tuesday to save this blue spruce tree located in the waterfront park between the Griffon Gastropub and The Silo Restaurant.
The Village of Lewiston Board voted Tuesday to save this blue spruce tree located in the waterfront park between the Griffon Gastropub and The Silo Restaurant.

Village of Lewiston to save waterfront tree

by jmaloni
Wed, Feb 21st 2024 08:45 am

By Joshua Maloni

GM/Managing Editor

Trustees in the Village of Lewiston reversed course on Tuesday, and voted to save the approximately 30-foot blue spruce tree adjacent to the Freedom Crossing Monument on North Water Street.

They cited public response to social media posts, and subsequent conversations with locals.

Board members, on Nov. 20, voted 3-2 to have the spruce and a nearby crabapple tree cut down. Mayor Anne Welch and board members Dan Gibson and Tina Coppins voted in the affirmative, while Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt and Trustee Nick Conde dissented.

This time, Gibson said, “I would like to apologize to the taxpayers for not doing my due diligence. I didn't realize it was a healthy tree. It was a miscommunication, and I did not realize that it was a memorial to somebody in the village. And so, I'd like to make a motion that we keep the tree.”

The audience applauded as trustees unanimously voted in favor of keeping the tree.

Last week, Welch said, “The Beautification Commission asked if we could take (the spruce) down, because they want to redo the park. It's overgrown … it's got sharp needles; so, it's not real park-friendly. … It blocks the view of the Freedom Crossing monument, the view of the river. It's getting too tall to really take care of it.”

But after hearing from residents, Welch said, “I think it would be a compromise on our part to just trim up the tree and save the tree. It seems like everybody's in favor of saving the tree.”

Resident Trixi Goods started the online call to action with a Facebook post on Feb. 11. She wrote, in part, “This is a healthy, beautiful tree that has been an integral part of our community’s landscape. Its removal would be a great loss and have a detrimental environmental impact. ….

“The Blue Spruce is not just any tree; it is a symbol of our town's commitment to preserving nature.”

At the board meeting, Goods said she has seen plans to upgrade the waterfront park – “and they're all good improvements: new benches, new fences – those are all wonderful things. But it takes a village. And I think the village here has made their voices heard and said please don't cut down a healthy tree.”

She added, “The tree also has sentimental value. It was planted as a memorial for Ted Beeton by his wife, Evelyn. …

“I would urge the board to take another look at this and consider a compromise.”

Goods offered trustees two pictures showing how to trim the tree.

Joslyn Pinson spoke on behalf of her grandfather, the late Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman H. John Ritter. She said, “He was the harbormaster down at Lewiston Landing for many years. And I just think that, if we take care of it and it looks great, then we should just keep it.

“I rode my bike down there many years, every single year that he worked, and I always looked at that beautiful tree – and I still see it when I go down there now.”

Ritter’s wife, Nancy, said, “(Department of Public Works Superintendent) Larry Wills and the DPW are very much in favor of keeping the tree, and I know they would be glad to trim it. John used to come up there and trim that tree. But the last time would have been in 2017. So, it hasn't been trimmed in seven years. And I think it could be trimmed and made nice.

“If somebody wants to see the view of Canada or whatever, they can move over a little bit and look over and see it.”

The blue spruce.


Welch explained, “Beautification, they asked for that, because they do such a beautiful job in this village, and they wanted to redo that park. The tree does take up a good portion of it, and it's not the best tree in the park.

“I had a visit by Rob Nichols, who is a member of the Lions Club, and they are planting 11 new trees in the village. They wanted to put two down there – if that tree was taken down; that was the area where they would have planted.

“But like I say, we appreciate Beautification. We try to help them every step of the way. And when they want to put new gardens in, or redo the parks or whatever, we try to help them in any way you can.”

Lewiston Beautification Commission member Susan Lattka said, “It’s OK to save the tree. … We just would like the lower landing to look better. It does not look that great right now. The walkways need to be redone. The swings, the benches.”

She added, “We only would like to see improvement down there. We don't have to cut down the tree. All I want to see is some improvement down there. I know you're trying to get grant money. …

“This was a suggestion to try and do something to improve the lower landing, to make it look more beautiful. Keeping the tree is fine. I have no problem with keeping the tree, trimming the tree.

“A lot of people complain, but they don't help. No one volunteers to help plant, to water. It only takes a couple of hours. My husband and I do it. It only takes an hour of your day – maybe one day a week, for an hour – to help us out.”

Welch noted, “If anybody is interested in joining the Garden Club or Beautification, they are always looking for volunteers. It's very worthwhile, and you can see how beautiful the village looks because of their efforts. If anyone out there would like to join, they'd be glad to have you.”

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