Trees being replaced in Lake George streetscape project

LAKEGEORGE-A project is now under way to enhance the streetscape of downtown Lake George village while protecting the lakewater quality, and the effort involves the replacement of various diseased trees.

The removal of 26 older trees along the West side of Canada Street has prompted calls to the village office, and local officials have been reassuring residents and business owners that new, healthy and hardy trees will replace those that were diseased and deteriorating.

This week, an area construction firm began removing sidewalks and trees from McGillis Avenue to Amherst Street on the north.

New sidewalks, pavers, pedestrian ramps, trees and extensive stormwater improvements are planned within the four-block area.

Mayor Robert Blais said that deciding to remove all the trees within the work zone was difficult, but it was warranted considering the condition of the trees, which were examined by experts and determined to have only three to five years left to live.

A tree inventory was conducted three years ago by Cornell Cooperative Extension, and a resulting report recommended removal of most trees on Canada Street. Since then, several other experts have confirmed the findings.

Village officials have selected 30 trees, older than merely saplings, to replace those being removed. They include Winter King Hawthorn, Adirondack crabapple, Canada red chokeberry, Autumn Brilliance serviceberry and Amur Maackia. All are resistant to invasive species and suitable for planting curbside in city environments, Blais said. Specifications call for the trees to have branches at least 6 feet from the base and be highly resistant to salt and drought.

The village will be installing ornamental tree grates in place of the current planters, and retain their hanging baskets from utility poles, allowing for increased pedestrian sidewalk areas. Stormwater treatment devices are to be installed underneath the sidewalks.

The project, funded by a $563,930 state revitalization grant, is expected to be primarily completed by May 26 but resume in the fall for the block north of Amherst Street.

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