People, spare that tree

With our collective attention set on improving visibility for the Adirondack Carousel and deciding the fate of trees in a treasured Village park, why are folks so quick to recommend tree removal as a solution? Let’s consider our treatment of trees not only in village parks but along our streets and in our yards. All of us need to learn to tend our trees from the seedling stage to towering mature specimens.

The village of Saranac Lake has a Tree Management Plan in the Office of Community Development courtesy of a grant from the USDA and NYSDEC following the devastating Ice Storm in 1998. Periodic assessment of the condition of our village trees was a strategy we were to adopt. If trees are maintained and pruned periodically to proper scale for their site and setting we would not run into controversies about their removal.

After concerned village residents established “Parents for Improved Playgrounds” in the mid 1980’s and fund raised for new William Morris Park equipment, the addition of trees followed to provide shade, beauty, and act as an additional buffer between children at play and a heavily trafficked street. The amazing Adirondack Carousel was erected in the park many years later.

Today we want to insure the success of the Carousel by making the buildings more readily visible while keeping the park just that – a park. The Carousel designers have gifted us with a charming shell around a treasured merry-go-round; but, with all respect, the exterior colors do not convey the excitement of what is taking place behind the facade. After more than twenty years of work with historic color palettes in this village, I can attest that the natural earth tones on the building are in keeping with the Adirondack palette, but they are so neutral that they make the building recede. Tasteful yes, for many buildings, but a bit understated for a grand carousel.

With new colors we can convey more of the spark of life hiding within. At the turn of the century a large portion of our housing stock was white: white clapboards and white wooden shakes. Windows, trim, doors, and corner boards were painted in sharp contrast using deeply pigmented colors. Could we consider a clean fresh white body color with a tasteful old fashioned red to trim out our Carousel?

We can find a balance in our preservation of green space and still create more open views to encourage visitation and revenue. If the three tall evergreens are blocking the view, then please remove only one and save the other two. The two selected keepers could be opened up with selective pruning by a licensed arborist. Additionally, the hardwood trees could have some of their lower limbs removed which would allow pedestrians and passengers in vehicles a window to one of our community’s special assets.

Also, the very subtle brown and yellow Adirondack Carousel sign is not very exciting. This is an onsite sign, so it does not need to confirm to NYS DOT’s brown and yellow sign colors. With vibrant colors and a less reserved design, the sign would more effectively draw people toward the Carousel in the heart of the park. Finally, the ongoing placement of vinyl event signs on the chain link fence should be discouraged as these totally block the view of the building.

I have supported both the park and the Carousel for years, and I wish to see the park green and the Carousel vibrant far into the future.

Sharon O’Brien lives in Saranac Lake.