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Mayor ‘taken aback’ by clearing of trees at Redskins site

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Actually, the trees should be replaced on an inch by inch basis. So, if a 20 inch DBH tree was removed, 20, 1 inch trees would need to be replanted.

But we shall see…

http://mobi.timesdispatch.com/richmond/pm_120066/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=ds91ua57

Mayor ‘taken aback’ by clearing of trees at Redskins site

With work just beginning on the $10 million Redskins training-camp facility, city officials are already looking into what Mayor Dwight C. Jones called a “mistake” in the number of trees cleared from the site over the past week.

“I was taken aback to learn that more trees were removed from the site than originally anticipated,” Jones said in a statement released this afternoon. “This is counter to our commitment to protect the older hardwood trees at the west end of the property. We are reviewing the matter to determine what mistakes were made so that we can prevent further problems from occurring.”

The training camp facility is being built by Richmond’s Economic Development Authority on 17 acres of state-owned land off Leigh Street behind the Science Museum of Virginia.

In June, the team announced it would move its training camp to Richmond this year as part an economic incentive deal with the state. The facility, which is being built in a sponsorship arrangement with Bon Secours Richmond Health System, includes two side-by-side football fields, a drill field, spectator areas, locker rooms and training facilities. It will also host sports-medicine and men’s health offices. Site work, including grading and excavation, began last week.

A voicemail message from Economic Development Authority Board Chairman Rich Johnson indicated he would be on vacation this week.

A message and email to Mark Hourigan of Hourigan Construction, the project manager, were not immediately returned.

Tammy Hawley, Jones’ press secretary, said Jones’ chief of staff, Suzette Denslow, noticed the degree which the site had been cleared and notified others in the administration. Hawley said city officials are reviewing the matter to determine where the communications lapse occurred.

“There was the expectation that as many trees as possible were going to be left,” Hawley said.

On Monday afternoon, hardly any trees could be seen standing on the site amid the mounds of churned-up earth.

The western piece of the wooded site formerly hosted an exercise trail, and dozens of trees. Residents attending a community meeting in November on the training camp plan had expressed concerns about losing the trail and park area.

Jones said he is committed to one-for-one tree replacement.

“I have also directed that a new landscaping plan be developed and larger, more mature trees be used for the western area. I know that everyone is moving forward quickly with construction to meet our June 2013 deadline, but we need to be mindful of commitments,” Jones said. “A mistake was made, and we need it to be rectified, and we need to prevent further problems.”

City Council President Charles R. Samuels said he drove past the site over the weekend and “was shocked” that every single tree on the property had been removed.

“The agreement between the administration and myself was that, while there would be a one-for-one tree replacement for any tree that had to come down, as many trees as possible would remain; including those surrounding a portion of the Vita course on the west side of the property,” Samuels said

“While I do not believe the trees were torn down at the direction of the administration, I am gravely concerned about the communication efforts that preceded the trees coming down, as clearly our agreement… was not honored or communicated to the construction workers.

Samuels said “trees are an integral part of our urban neighborhoods and my goal is to repopulate the city with appropriate trees, not to remove old-growth trees merely for development.”

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Written by vaphc

January 15, 2013 at 6:12 am

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