From the Bushnell Park Foundation: Statement on the Removal and Replacement of Trees in Bushnell Park

Bushnell Park Foundation
Statement on the Removal and Replacement of Trees in Bushnell Park

The Bushnell Park Foundation supports the iQuilt Plan and its three themes of enhancing walkability downtown, connecting Hartford’s cultural treasures and celebrating our long history of innovation.

In 2013, the City of Hartford won, in a highly competitive national competition, a Federal “TIGER Grant” to undertake street and infrastructure improvements based on the design concepts established in the iQuilt Plan. A major component of this plan calls for the reconception of sections of Asylum, Ford and Jewel streets that form the north edge of Bushnell Park with the specific goals of calming traffic, making safer and more pedestrian-

friendly crosswalks at street intersections, and, most of all, creating an inviting and gracious esplanade with numerous well-shaded benches for sitters along the north edge of Bushnell Park to accommodate walkers, strollers, runners, and bikers. This would form a new and vastly improved edge to the north side of Bushnell Park, now being referred to as Bushnell Park North.

The design has been vetted, the construction documents completed and successfully bid, and the City is now prepared to move forward with the construction. Members of the Bushnell Park Foundation Board have been engaged in the development of these plans, are represented on the iQuilt Partnership, and regularly meet and work with the Department of Public Works on issues related to the care and maintenance of Bushnell Park.

It is with this knowledge and engagement that the Foundation supports the construction of Bushnell Park North as it is designed.

It is the mission of the Bushnell Park Foundation to preserve and protect Bushnell Park. The trees of Bushnell Park are a major asset and a focus of our energies. The Foundation recently retained a licensed arborist to undertake a complete inventory and assessment of the 482 trees in the Park, and provided the City Forester with this tree survey to use as a guide for the future care and maintenance of park trees.

The plans for Bushnell Park North do call for the removal of 23 trees. It should be noted that 13 of these trees are in the western section of the Park, and 3 are in the triangle area between the Trinity Street ramp and the playscape. We believe these trees were planted when the Park River was removed and placed in conduit, and neither pre-date 1943 nor are original to the park or of “champion” caliber. There are 5 trees in the area of the High Street intersection that are also identified to be removed as they cannot be accommodated into the Plan. While this represents a loss, it is important to note that the Plan also calls for the planting of 86 new trees. We conclude that the overall benefits and improvements of the proposed Bushnell Park North Plan far outweigh this negative element.

It is the specific position of the Foundation that its support of the Plan is conditioned upon the City’s full compliance with the City’s Tree Ordinance, and that the planting of the 86 new trees is carried out with the involvement and approval of the City Forester as it relates to placement, species and planting specifications.