Florence residents upset over removal of hazardous trees

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It just got a bit sunnier on Boulevard Street in Florence Township, Burlington County, but that's not a good thing according to residents. (WPVI)

It just got a bit sunnier on Boulevard Street in Florence Township, Burlington County, but that's not a good thing according to residents.

As part of a $200,000 grant project to replace curbs and sidewalks along the Boulevard, the municipality has recently cut down half a dozen of the 70-foot to 80-foot sycamores and maples that have made the tree-lined street so attractive.

Some were believed to be 100 years old.

That has made residents like retiree John Smith not happy.

"They've destroyed the character of the street, really. Over the years, they've taken trees down and never replaced them," Smith said.

There's a giant 3-foot wide stump left in Tim Lloyd's front yard and a supply of firewood that will last for years.

"If they say they have to go, if they're a hazard to the houses, let them go. It really does stink, though, because it's destroying the old town character of the street," Lloyd said.

Looking through a stack of photos depicting the decay, disease, and damage in some of the Boulevard's trees, town officials say tree experts carefully examined and identified trees that had to come down.

"The tree could possibly split, it could crack, could fall over, large limbs were falling," Assistant Township Administrator Tom Sahol said.

"If the municipality knew the trees were in danger of coming down and took no action there is a liability problem. But more importantly it's our conscience when we leave here at the end of the day to make sure residents are well protected," Township Administrator Richard Brook said.

Some neighbors are concerned that the trees that have been cut down won't be replaced. They say that's happened in the past. But Florence officials are promising that new trees will be planted.

That will happen later this fall

"I wish we were notified ahead of time, it may have stopped the controversy here," resident Susan Gusrang said.

"My house is full of sun, it used to have shade. Can't even sit on the porch in the morning because we get full sun now," resident Ray Simmons said.

There may be fewer shade trees on Boulevard Street, but local officials say it's a lot safer.

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