Op-Ed — Our tree situation has us stumped. Can you help?

Asst. Judge Connie Cain Ramsey

By Asst. Judge Connie Cain Ramsey

You may have noticed our six Norway maple trees no longer line the sidewalk in front of the County Courthouse on Main Street in Burlington.

Norway Maple trees lined the Main Street side of the Chittenden County Courthouse.

Due to heavy damage from the Oct. 29 windstorm, the trees had to be removed for the safety of pedestrians passing by the courthouse.

Courtesy photos
Damage from the October 29 windstorm left dangerous branches like this one hanging over the Main Street sidewalk.

The Burlington city arborist recommended replacing them with Princeton elm trees to match the Burlington city trees from yesteryear (there’s an example of a Princeton elm across the street between Junior’s and Old Gold).

There have been other suggestions too, including planting signature Vermont sugar maples (that could be tapped), or leaving the lawn treeless to highlight the beauty of the James Knox Taylor-designed building as it appeared over a century ago.

Courtesy photo The courthouse as it stands today, with the trees removed.

Former Assistant Judge Elizabeth Gretkowski was surprised and saddened to see the trees removed, remembering the time and effort put into pruning them to help them grow. But she also remembers that fellow Assistant Judge Tom Crowley was in favor of cutting them down to better reveal the beauty of the building.

So, as a steward of the county courthouse, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. After all, it is your courthouse.

If you live in Chittenden County, email me at: Connie.Ramsey@Vermont.gov.
Connie Cain Ramsey is a Chittenden County assistant judge

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