Don’t miss the carousel for the trees

Supporters of Saranac Lake’s Adirondack Carousel make a good point that trees in William Morris Park block the view of this impressive structure and attraction from Church Street and Bloomingdale Avenue.

Christopher Cohan, a landscape architect based in Rye, recently wrote a letter to Adirondack Carousel board President Marge Glowa offering his services free of charge to draft a master plan for the village park. He suggested removing most of the trees along the Bloomingdale Avenue fence line and replacing them with shrubs inside the fence and flowers outside.

Mr. Cohan, whose family has donated to the carousel over the years, said it is a “handsome structure” but “it is invisible.”

Something like visibility could make a real difference in the fortunes of the carousel, which is hanging in there but is not (yet, anyway) a runaway success. Most new enterprises take some time to get established. The village has an incentive to show off the carousel since it enhances a village crossroads that has been improved in recent years and has further potential, commercially and residentially. The village also, in agreeing to host the carousel in the park, is obliged to show it off to mutual advantage.

Of course, the village also has an obligation to all park users, so let’s take a closer look.

Two sets of trees are involved: three white spruces close together just inside the fence, and an array of red maples and white ashes outside, between the fence and the sidewalk.

We suggest the spruces could go but that the others remain.

Trees are beautiful, and each of these trees is attractive on its own. But unlike in a forest, where trees grow where they will, in a park, trees are planted strategically in arrangements where they enhance the space.

To our eyes, the maples and ashes seem to have been placed intentionally, ornamentally, as is typical in a park. The spruce row, however, seems to have either been planted as a screen on purpose, before there was a carousel to block, or else they sprang up accidentally.

Only the crowns of the maples and ashes block one’s view of the carousel, but the spruces block one’s line of sight from top to bottom. And being evergreens, they block it year-round, whereas the deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter.

We do notice that young children have fun hiding among the spruces against the fence, so that’s a benefit they provide. Some kids would miss that.

They also provide a little shade but, being cone-shaped, not as much as the umbrella-shaped deciduous trees outside the fence.

There’s almost no taxpayer cost involved with cutting down three trees, so that’s not a factor.

If this landscape architect’s credentials are acceptable to both the village and the carousel committee, and if he donates a master plan that looks good to both sides, it might make sense for the village to follow his professional advice and remove these three spruce trees to open up a window on the carousel for passers-by.