Posted 16 July 2011, by Kevin Korber, Village Confidential, villageconfidential.com
The newly re-designed fountain area at Washington Square Park is drawing the ire of locals over the rash of dead trees in the area surrounding the fountain. Some are going as far as to accuse the City Parks Department of committing arborcide.
The Washington Square Park Blog, which has been following the city’s process in the rehabilitation of Washington Square Park, noted in a recent post that seven trees in the area surrounding the fountain have died in the past two years; some have been replanted, only to die later. WSPB levies a serious charge on the Parks Department, saying that a design flaw that does not allow trees to retain water, thereby killing them. In talks with park designer George Vellonakis, it was revealed that because of the soil used in the re-design of Washington Square Park, the trees in that section of the park were likely to continue dying unless the Parks Department intervened.
These accusations come with a hint of irony, as one of the new policies of the Parks Department and the Bloomberg administration is the criminalization of arborcide, or the deliberate destruction of trees. Under current laws, individuals can face steep fines and even jail time for damaging or killing a tree.
The issue of the dying trees in Washington Square Park has been brought to Community Board 2, but the City Parks Department has yet to acknowledge that any sort issue exists that could be damaging to vegetation in the park.