Statement from Councilman John Goncalves Regarding National Grid’s Plan to Remove Trees Along the South Main Street Corridor

Jun 12, 2020 | 0 comments

As the newly elected City Councilor for Ward 1, I have been actively engaged with my community, and it is clear that they are not in favor of removing the trees as proposed by National Grid. Further, the removal of the three London Planetrees located on the South Main Street Corridor would be a painful loss.

The London Planetree tolerates pollution and other urban conditions exceptionally well, making it ideally suited for this area and providing a myriad of environmental benefits. Several studies show that urban forestry contributes to the health and wellbeing of our residents. They also provide an acoustic buffer and ample shade for those seeking to get out of the sun while out in the area and provide an aesthetic element to the new Providence Pedestrian Bridge. My neighbors have gathered over 300 petition signatures to keep these trees, and I believe that National Grid should listen to our concerns.

London Planetrees are easily transplantable depending on their age. Even older and larger trees can be moved – if done so with care and resources. My staff has reached out to trained arborists from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which has one of the country’s leading horticulture and arboriculture programs, and was told that the trees could be moved but with much care. 

That said, I realize that it would be costly to move such large and mature trees but the proposal to simply plant at minimum 23 new trees to replace them, as required by ordinance, doesn’t go far enough. Ultimately, I hope that National Grid will work with the community, including the 10,000 Suns volunteers, neighborhood residents, the neighborhood association, as well as local business owners, and provide them with any additional data and documentation that they have requested regarding the ramifications of the removal of these trees. In addition, I ask that National Grid is in constant communication with us and can incorporate further feedback, regarding tree planting and tree species in our neighborhood, that is acceptable to community stakeholders given the potential loss of these three exceptional trees.

John Goncalves
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 1
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