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Trees spark more council contention

September 18, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Opposing sides continued to bark at each other Wednesday during a dispute about where some donated trees should go.

Trees donated but rejected for Rotary Parking Lot had been considered for planting along West Main Street near the borough limits. However, especially narrow sidewalks in that area only allow for the installation of three or four trees.

Harry Morningstar from Main Street Waynesboro Inc. and the shade tree commission, along with Tom McCloud from the shade tree commission, approached the Waynesboro Borough Council at a workshop meeting and discussed asking property owners whether the trees could be planted behind the sidewalks. That would mirror efforts in the east end of town, where borough trees are planted on private property, they said.

"It's a matter of approaching property owners and saying, 'Do you want to help to beautify Waynesboro?'" McCloud said. "I think we should try to complete the plan."

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Only one-third of trees in town have actually been planted on the sidewalk, Morningstar said.

"If the trees are on private property, I'm not in favor of doing maintenance on them," Councilman Ronnie Martin said.

Morningstar, owner of Furniture Market, said west-end property owners have been promised Victorian-style streetlights and trees by the borough and Main Street Waynesboro Inc.

"This is what these people have been told for the last decade. ... Now you're going to tell them, 'Screw you?'" he asked.

"Show me where the borough promised them," Martin said.

"Men of our word or liars?" Morningstar countered.

McCloud said the matter comes down to "does this borough council want to make Main Street look as nice as it can?"

"This is a good project. We need to finish it," Morningstar said. "What's the downside?"

The council agreed to three or four trees, then directed the borough engineer to decide where the best places would be for other trees on private property. Morningstar and McCloud said volunteers can approach property owners to offer trees.

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