Tree Committee Looks at Skatepark

Referring to front page article in today’s Reformer 5/15/13 “Clements also said that the plans are only on paper at this time and machinery or changes in drainage could have a further impact on the trees. These two trees will be trashed. I don’t see any other way around it, ” said Clements. The Reformer article neglected to mention one of the trees to be removed as a consequence and unlikely to survive the construction of the proposed skatepark project is the majestic Norway Spruce many have come to identify with Crowell Lot as one of the original estate trees that has up to now survived at least two major hurricanes, Irene most recently, and has often been the center of this contoversy and a primary example of what’s at stake for those wanting to defend the right to preserve the park as a green area and natural tree lined setting void of excess concrete. I think with the town lacking revenue as they do, it is a travesty they are leasing this park for $5.dollars for years to come to a town sanctioned special interest group for their specialized purposes when others would gladly up the anity and raise money just to see the park preserved as a year round open green/snow space everyone can enjoy and presently do while finding a more appropriate and publicly acceptable skatepark location/site where the fate of trees won’t suffer, other uses won’t be as compromised an where  attracted crowds of the sport could be better accomodated. 

The arborist report conducted by UFS Urban Forestry Solutions in 2011 rated the condition of this particular Norway Spruce to abutt new skateboard park as one of healthy condition in “good condition”  at 40.5 in girth DBH and estimated to be 65 ft tall towering over the park it provides shade and defining character to on a daily basis and has earned it established position, respect and admiration among neighbors . There are those whose advantage it is to now state this tree is aging or in decline(aren’t we all), to avoid payment, but to me it isn’t any worse off than any other tree in the park. So is the logic here then by all accounts that the tree warden should therefore downgrade it’s condition to justify it’s removal or is it more the fact of the unfortunate location that is the real issue? Otherwise none of the other trees in the park would be safe with this kind of drastic assessment and we would have to cut them all down using such reasoniig along with the hedge too. More than likely these exisiting trees surrounding the skatepark in themselves, just for being where they are, have become invasive by default, at no fault of their own, to make way for the skateboard project.

It has been argued time and time again right here on ibrattleboro by proponents of the skateboard park at Crowell Park that these trees would not be impacted or harmed even when the construction cut off point is far inside their critcal root zone allowances severs roots as big as 4″ in diameter to their demise weakening stability, drastically reducing critical root zones of elder trees and ablility to absorb essential nutrients, then buries shallow root systems on the backside with the formation of a proposed berm the extent of which is still not fully articulated in the overall park plan or lack of one. Now all that we are left with is a question of whether they represent any value to the public to be monetarily compensated for their loss by elimination dependent on possibly swayed interpretation (not an ISA certified arborist report’s conclusion)  the will in the end determine the actual condition of these trees taking the felling ax as another sacrifice to be made allowing the skateboard park to take precedence. 

Comments | 30

  • tree loss

    I don’t want to lose a tree, not one tree for this skate park. please, who ever cares about trees on the pro skate park group, please consider another site. for the love of trees, please.

  • Spruce tree

    This unmistakable tree, a park sentinel, a major part of the neighborhood park landscape will be truly missed, is this really that expendable?

    • Appeal

      “If Adams (Dan Adams, Tree Warden) determines trees have to come down, and the skatepark supporters want to appeal that decision, they can do so in front of the tree committee. A second appeal can be brought to the Selectboard” Reformer 5/15/13

      Because the removal of such large trees could cost the skatepark supporters 8,000 dollars just on the onset for tree replacement values not to mention the cost of cutting them down, you can expect them to argue these trees are worthless to the public and needed to come out anyway.

      If you value these trees remaining alive, then please become involved and attend both Tree Advisory Committee Meetings as well as Selectboard meetings with this issue on the agenda and voice your concerns. Try to envision this altered landscape and ask yourself if this is acceptable to the children and people who presently enjoy the park.

  • This Town Needs to Preserve Its Past frr Everyone

    Throwing away this community park for an adolescent skatepark for boys who wear their pants half off is insane. Build it at Memorial Park, or down by the Train Station. This location is convenient to NO ONE and will need to be policed and maintained. We can also certainly expect that this town will think to then install parking meters all the way up Western Ave to nickle and dime it’s visitors as well.

    This is a no brainer. Trees and the community belong at Crowell – not skateboard flipping young boys with the noise (and probably drug dealers) they will bring.

    It’s true. We need to take up a collection to preserve this park and it’s trees. This is OUR town, not BOYS town.

    • I wholeheartedly disagree

      This town is OUR town. Adolescent boys — and girls — are part of US. Our community comprises all ages.

      Skateboarding activity and drug activity are two entirely separate things.

      We need constructive, active, easily monitored activities for our youth to participate in. This town is not just for grownups.

      If you reject adolescent youth as outcasts from the community, they will behave as rejected outcasts from the community. Is this wise?

      As the mother of two responsible, respectful, non-skateboarding, pants-100%-on adolescent boys, I find your comments offensive.

    • Duped by Degrees

      If the actual threat to these trees had been accurately and thruthfully disclosed to the public by proponents of the skateboard park project( who did not have a certified ISA arborist’s assessment) as well as our own town officials who backed them without having their facts straight, intentionally dismissing the qualified and professionally conducted evaluation of these surrounding trees chances for survival directly resulting from the skateboard park construction consistently brought to the attention of the park’s developers by a concerned community, the skateboard park location at Crowell would have been rejected long ago when it was recognized as an obvious poor choice from the beginning.

      What was rejected was a sizable portion of our communities insight and concerns further aggravating an already frictional refutation widening the divide. This dispute that has persisted over a two year period when citizen’s involvement attempted to seek acceptance and consideration for alternative sites in an effort to find common ground and was denied.

      This thread is NOT about ENCOURAGING a lack of respect for skateboarding as a sport or our youth who enjoy it!!

      In short we have been duped and publiclly lied to and that in itself diqualifies this project in my book. I say this incredible tree stays put, move the skatepark instead! We will stand by. I see a refuge/campsite up top let’s say at the 50 ft mark among the padding of the bows, nice view too.

    • Wow.Not sure why you have

      Wow, chrishh. Not sure why you have such a blatant prejudice against adolescent boys but you need to open your mind -and your eyes a little. Skateboarding is a healthy, fun and worthy activity for anyone who cares to learn how to do it. It requires skill and patience and perseverance- all good things for young boys and girls to learn. Do you think that other sites in town were not already considered? Where by the train station would you propose this skate park be built? Do you really believe that all skateboarders are drug users?
      As adults we should be enthusiastic about any activities that get our kids using their bodies, their brains, their skills and particularly one that actually gets them outside and away from electronic ‘toys’
      Brattleboro- and every town – is made of all kinds of people – all genders; all races; all personalities. Our differences and our similarities are what make a place unique. I find your narrow minded response to be not only offensive but a little sad. Get rid of some of your biases- it’s a pretty wonderful world out there!

      • Again, This thread was meant

        Again, This thread was meant to be about TREES threatened in Crowell Park as a poor choice for the skateboard park location for this very reason!!!!!!, there are better choices out there , not about depriving skateboarding as an activity or making rash genralizations about our youth here, my son is a skateboarder and still very youthful at 21 he would not fit or confine himself to any of the descriptions stated above.

    • Some pants even more insane

      Wherever this park ends up going, let’s remember, this effort is about providing a place to gain strength and build courage,

      it’s about conquering barriers of body, and spirit,

      and it’s about opening the mind to possibilities yet unimagined

      • Keep it in mind

        Yes, I agree wholeheartedly on that Spinoza, so why ? start out this project, supposedly for all, that creates and festers such community divisions, which upsets and detours common goodwill or fair balance with respect which when ignored or dismissed in turn ironically kills the crucial support this project seeks and is dependent on.

        • Speaking Personally

          I started out on this project over ten years ago. That’s a damn long time to have no place to practice. And a lot of potential thwarted, energy bottled, connections missed.

          If the opponents and town came with a matching amount to what BASIC has raised so far, and said let’s put it elsewhere, and begin NOW, I’d support that.

          But to simply feud, and fume, and set false flares, and try to run the clock out, is not exactly community building either.

          • Funding

            RESITE has offered to help with raising funds if another location could be considered and determined by a town wide selection process,( it is a town project after all) this could represent a significant contribution to the effort and possibly have a skatepark a whole lot sooner, not to mention break the emotional gridlock.

          • Pitch In

            If only those influential people who were able to keep a skatepark out of Living Memorial Park (for reasons rejecting possible excessive noise?) by threatening the intimidation of a lawsuit( that BASIC dare not revisit), could be held accountable for claiming illegitimate jurisdiction over and blocking potential use of a 58 acre public entity designated for town wide recreation facility with ample room and set back( not an exclusive country club) and as a result have redirected and limited choices for our greater community, then they should have to pony up and find an suitable alternative space or state their case before the public, this backhand politicking is irreprehensible.

            This certainly could be downtown and not just dump it in Crowell Playground as a vunerable inappropriate last resort just to rid an abutting condominum complex of the responsibility they have mysteriously been able to avoid, but instigated. Others in our community have taken great pains to select other viable sites with zero recognition from town officials, what is the deal here??

  • It's broken; fix it!

    This is not about skateboarding, it’s not about adolescent boys, no matter how they wear their trousers, it’s not about drugs. It’s about preservation of a community resource: a really neat little park with a lot of beautiful trees.
    There’s no good reason the park needs to be there, except for the fact that the site has already been approved, and no one wants to admit the mistake.
    I’ve been told that the first site suggested was in Living Memorial Park, but a few residents of an adjoining community, led by a guy with a well-known name objected, threatening legal action, and the selectboard caved.
    My opinion is that Living Memorial Park is a vast property, and a suitable alternative location could have been found within that park which is conveniently located, and possesses ample parking and sanitary facilities. Kids and others have no problem accessing the swimming pool, hockey rink, many athletic fields, ski slopes and even an outdoor theater. THIS IS WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE!
    I wish that BASIC and the town officials would swallow their pride and proceed to build the park in a better location.
    BTW, no one seems to notice that Crowell is bounded by Union Hill. More than an attractive nuisance, that street will prove to be an irresistible temptation for some fool to skate down it risking serious injury, even death! This isn’t fanciful. People occasionally do it now. Placing the park there vastly increases the odds for a disaster to happen.
    Another consideration is that the controversial nature of this location is already hurting fund raising efforts. Will an unnecessary $ 8-10K expense for tree removal make this project financially inviable?

    • a few corrections

      The reason Memorial Park is not an ideal location is that there is not adequate room between the pond and the right of way/top of the eroding Whetstone bank. The upper site is isolated and cannot be monitored.

      The reason the Crowell Lot is an ideal location is that is accessible, close to downtown, visible, and already provides active recreation.

      Contrary to the press accounts, the trees will be preserved. A 20′ foot buffer will be maintained around all mature specimen trees, with the exception of the Hickory (16′)

      Site Construction within 10′ of trees is routine.

      In my opinion this really is about skateboarders. I’m sorry that the community is having such a difficult time accepting this incredible sport alongside basketball, baseball and playgrounds. Personally, I find it astonishing that we codify the prohibition of an inexpensive, active, creative, outdoor outlet for our youth, without providing a safe, dedicated alternative.

      While i appreciate the concern for skater safety, a safe location should be much greater concern than the perils of Union Hill. [skateboarding is one of the best teaching tools for Logical Consequences)

      Thank You,
      Adam Hubbard

      • Memorial Park

        ” The upper site is isolated and can’t be monitored”

        It wouldn’t be isolated if a skatepark was there!! along with existing and nearby tennis courts, hockey rink, outdoor theater, concession stands, pool and yes, more importantly, bathrooms as well as safe and ample off road parking all within a well used and active 58 acre recreation park with plenty of room for expansion. Maybe it is not as convenient to you as it is for others, but there’s no denying it’s close to the High School and accessable to public transportation, basically a wide open field with a top to bottom access road all viewable from the road and parking lots.

        You make it out like the skatepark at Crowell Park will be supervised or the new buzz word “Monitored” or self monitored, it won’t be, unless your assuming neighbors(most of whom within sight oppose this skatepark location) will play watchdogs, they won’t after what they’ve been through with BASIC and town officials. The Crowell Park location has inherently inferior sitelines, unless the hedge and slope leading down to Green street are removed somehow or Union Hill is leveled, otherwise it is not going away as still another dangerous and steep hill off of a major and busy intersection next to Crowell Park. Maybe certain influentail towns people have more clout and connection to town officials making these type of decisions over the tree street opponents of the skatepark at Crowell, could that possibly be the case, if that’s true it’s a corrupt process?. So I guess your saying no trees will be harmed or cut down, please refer to the Reformer article and TAC minutes. Les Montgomery

        • Monitored ?

          I have been a strong time supporter of the Crowell Lot site for the skatepark, because the park has been delayed for 10 years. TEN YEARS.

          chrishh’s comments above, are the kind that reveal the obstructionist spirit that will use any excuse to stamp out and or delay the creation of a valuable resource. It taints the whole conversation, and makes talk of concern about rees seem like maybe just another attempt to stop the park, again. (I do believe some people are very concerned about the trees, its just harder to hear that when comments like his are aired at the same time. )

          However, while my support for the skatepark has been strong in the past, overall, my support for the skatepark has fallen from full throttle, to merely neutral. Skating offers so many benefits, benefits that I have witnessed help young students of mine when I was a dorm parent at a private school that had a skatepark. It teaches so much more than the skill sets that are awesome to watch. Skating is a place where young people can learn to control their bodies and tackle gravity, instead of each other. I love football, but skating is especially inviting and rewarding to young people who are not interested in competitive sports. Skating is therapeutic in a way that is hard to imagine unless you have seen its benefits.

          All of the benefits have to be considered alongside legitimate concerns. The word “monitored” has little meaning to me, unless it means having a skatepark monitor. That’s because I have worked as a skatepark monitor. When you swim, you have a lifeguard, not so much so that they can administer CPR in the event of a near drowning, but so that they put a lid on behavior that can and does result in permanent injuries, ( crazy back flips in the shallow end of the pool and so on.)

          Likewise a skatepark needs a monitor to make sure young people who are just beginning to understand how to work with gravity at least wear a helmet. That;s the minimal meaning of “monitored”to me.

          We have lifeguards at the pool. There are nauseating videos out there in You Tube land, of kids who were not wearing helmets dying from the easily foreseeable results of head meets concrete without a helmet.

          Kinds break bones when they play sports of all kinds. That seems like a fine trade off to me. But not requiring kids to wear helmets is not meeting minimal responsibilities that we owe to them as adults. Wherever the park is, it needs to be monitored. Without that, as i say, my support has fallen to neutral.

          • positive note

            I think despite all the distortions and disingenousness around this very weird plan, the good news is that many people (certainly true for me) have come to see your point about the benefits of skateboarding and the effort proponents have put forth. Í do not believe for a minute that this has, for the most part, been about prejudices against youth or skateboarders.

            What I do know is that it has been about a residential neighborhood on a main thoroughfare to downtown(an already challenged one at that) and what this kind of development may bring to it. It is about what neighborhoods mean to those who live in them and how that is essential to well-being, including for the town itself. It is also about how legitimate concerns have been unaddressed, questions unanswered, valuable information ignored, and discussion squashed, passively.

            I believe more people now support BASIC than ever, as we see more clearly what went wrong.

      • Inexpensive??

        A skate park is inexpensive?

      • adequate room?

        “…there is not adequate room between the pond and the right of way/top of the eroding Whetstone bank…”
        In 58 acres that’s the only place to situate the skatepark?
        How about along Guilford Street, Southeast of the baseball diamond for starters?

      • logical consequences?

        If logic is valued here, the plan is clearly flawed, big time. To politically ram a concrete recreational facility development project plan into beloved, tiny 2.3 acre green park and playground, in a residential neighborhood, without having done an appropriate, professionally respected siting study, while also limiting public input and discussion, then boldly ignore copious amounts of relevent expertise on the quality-of-life in residential neighborhoods, traffic flow, arboriculture, and public skatepark development planning,is not logical in anyway. Nor is it thoughtful, or insightful. It is, frankly, dumb.

        That said, I fully support the skateboarders and other park proponents efforts(as I said from day one) because they have done the hard work they were charged to do and this is not anyone’s fault outside of town hall.

        It will likely never be said publically (but it is well known privately) that some town leaders who allegedly guided this group, snickered from the onset at the very idea skaters would ever be able to raise $350,000 for their park. At least that is what I have been told several times over the years. Resistance has been tepid and no one held accountable for the plan.

        I don’t think BASIC should be jerked around any longer, or have to wait for “the town” to figure out a good plan or what went wrong with this murky, subterranean “vision”. Skatepark proponents deserve their skatepark.

  • All this over a little park and a "couple of trees"

    Lessons from Turkey:!/photo.php?v=472402239509898&set=vb.472013769548745&type=2&theater

    • the Protests are Growing

      People Have Killed Their Fear of Authority – and the Protests are Growing By Ece Temelkuran June 04, 2013
      What began in an Istanbul park has tapped in to years of grievances.
      – “Well, we are just filling light bulbs with paint,” said my friend, a cafe owner in Cihangir, the Soho of Istanbul. Speaking to me on the phone, she sounded as relaxed as if she was baking an apple pie. “You know,” she continued, “the only way to stop a TOMA is to throw paint on its window so that the vehicle loses orientation.”
      My friend, who was completely uninterested in politics until six days ago, had never been in conflict with the police before. Now, like hundreds of thousands of others in Turkey, she has become a warrior with goggles around her neck, an oxygen mask on her face and an anti-acid solution bottle in her hand. As we have all learned, this the essential kit to fight the effects of tear gas. As for TOMA, that is the vehicle-mounted water cannon. To paralyse it, you either have to put a wet towel in its exhaust pipe or burn something under its engine or you and a dozen others can push it over. This kind of battle-info is circulating all over Turkey at the moment. It is like a civil war between the police and the people. Yet nobody expected this when, six days ago, a group of protesters organised a sit-in at Istanbul’s Gezi Park to protect trees that were to be cut down for the government’s urban redevelopment project.
      For the rest, go to

  • "Keep Out!"

    Such a big effort to exclude people from a public park speaks volumes of our community values.

    • like in Turkey?

      I don’t think it has ever been an effort to exclude people from a public park. I see it more as democratic activity that seeks to protect a quaint residential neighborhood asset from being forever violated by development, and a resistance to being silenced when declaring our community values (including expectations on processes that determine how public parks will be maintained and valued)?

    • Crowell is Utilized

      “Keep Out” ? ….you could just as well say the same about Living Memorial Park, never given a real chance as comparable skatepark site (two possible locations there now) before a “Community” selection process your group wants no part of ( a big mistake for funding) to the exclusion of other’s valid concerns. I guess we are both guilty of demonstrating stubbornness to the community’s detriment without the necessary leadership to properly and fairly sort this conflict out, and it is a major conflict, whether you want to admit it or not, so on it goes with or without the welfare of park trees. LM

    • the good news is...

      the argument that the town discriminates against skateboarders is dead. A skatepark plan was officially recognized as a need that the town should work toward and a “plan” was hatched (which is at the center of the dispute).

      We could not say for sure five years ago that the people of Brattleboro embraced skateboarding or believed a skatepark was a desirable goal for the town, but now I think we can as most voices recognize that a skatepark (well-planned) may meet the needs of a cohort of citizens, may have other benefits as well, and that skateboarding is a healthy skillful activity. We do agree on many points.

    • Keep Out!!!

      Such a big effort to exclude people from what should have been a public process speaks volumes about our community values and the integrity of town government.

      • Film is Released

        “The Upper Living Memorial Park: A Possible Skatepark Site” ( filmed Nov. 3, 2012 or 8 months ago) can be viewed on the BCTV web site for the first time under “Watch on Demand”, then scroll down to the heading, “Miscellaneous Local” should be on the top for selections if you are interested, Les Montgomery

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“Tree Committee looks at skatepark”

A front page article in today’s Reformer written by Howard Weiss Tisman

Brattleboro- “Now that the town has finalized the design for the proposed skatepark at Crowell Lot the Brattleboro Tree Committee is beginning to assess the impact the skatepark will have on the trees in the area.

The Tree Advisory Committee toured the park recently and met Tuesday night to talk about how the concrete , machinery and drainage might affect the trees.

Committee member Robert Clements said it appears that two trees will likely have to come down before the skatepark is open to the public.

Under the town’s tree ordinace any nonhazardous tree that is taken down has to be replaced equal to the total caliper of inches of the removed tree. So if a tree has to be removed that is 24 inches in diameter,a dozen 2-inch trees have to be planted. The new trees can be planted anywhere in town.

Martin Webster, a former Tree Advisory Committee member who was at the meeting Tuesday said one of the trees is probably at least 2 feet in diameter, and if that tree has to come down to make room for the skatepark, it will cost skatepark supporters at least $8,000 to plant the new trees, and he warned the cost (could) be much higher.

The committee only has an advisory role in enforcing the town’s tree ordinance. All decisions pertaining to the tree ordinance are made by town Tree Warden, Dan Adams

If Adams determines that the trees have to come down, and the skatepark supporters want to appeal that decision, they can do so in front of the tree committee. A second appeal can be brought to the Selectboard.

Clements also said that the plans are only on paper at this time and machinery or changes in drainage could have further impact on trees.

“These two trees will be trashed. I don’t see any other way around it” said Clements.These are the plans as it stands, but it is a movable target.”

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