A number of declining trees along the Allegheny riverbank between Hickory Street and the western railroad trestle in Warren are coming down.
Davey Tree of Warren was contracted by Penelec to prune and remove some trees that were interfering with power lines on the river side of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Times Observer photos by Brian Ferry
Davey Tree’s Nate Okerlund (left, top photo) reels in a fresh-cut log Tuesday as Brent Bosworth keeps it from falling and rolling down the bank to the Allegheny River. In photo at bottom, one of two crews from Davey Tree works on a portion of a tree along Pennsylvania Avenue West.
Department of Public Works Assistant Director Vinnie Massa said he met with Davey Tree representatives and City Arborist Tom Frair to discuss the work.
"We walked the entire stretch, stopping and discussing each tree that is in a location that concerns Penelec," Massa said. "It was determined during this meeting that quite a few were in a state of decline (and) that removal of them was a better plan and more cost effective as a part of the project."
"A lot of these are dying," Davey foreman Dave Bryan said.
Trees that Frair identified as 'healthy' will stay and be pruned as necessary to meet the needs of Penelec.
The others will be removed.
"Penelec's request to do work along here has come at a time when the city is well aware of the conditions of these trees," he said. "Between pedestrians, parking, and traffic on the avenue, there has been enough concern to get something done."
Penelec is responsible for the cost of pruning and removing the trees, according to Massa.
Bryan said the work will take about two weeks. The two crews work from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The location of the trees creates some difficulty for the workers, but they are making sure they keep the trees and portions thereof out of the river.
Frair and City Planner David Hildebrand are working on a project, including grant funding, to replace the trees, Massa said. "The plan includes planting species that will, for the most part, not mature to a height that will cause them to interfere with the utilities in the future."
"I believe the new plantings will help the riverbank cosmetically by having trees along this stretch that will not be reshaped by the pruning process that has had to happen in the past," Massa said.
City officials hope to begin planting in 2013.
According to Bryan, the logs left along the road at the end of each day are free for the taking.