Middletown business owner protests Middletown tree removal - abc27 WHTM

Middletown business owner protests Middletown tree removal

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Protesters took to the streets of downtown Middletown after the borough began tree removal efforts.  Consultants told borough officials that Linden trees block facades and their roots will damage the sidewalks in the future.

Louise Sukle chained herself to the tree that sits in front of her office.  She says the borough didn't give people a chance to provide input and she does not want to see them removed.

Borough officials say the meetings were posted and people had an opportunity to voice their concerns.

But some residents question if the cash-strapped borough should spend the money on such a project. Officials said a contractor has donated time to bring down the trees.

Business owner Louise Sukle has chained herself to a tree in protest. She's upset that business owners were not consulted about the change.

"When the trees are gone, they're gone," she said. "We were not consulted ... We only would've hoped that the borough would have asked the business owners downtown what they thought about it because ... we're taxpayers like everybody else."

Some residents wondered why the cash-strapped borough was spending the money to cut down the trees. But that wasn't a concern, they said, since a contractor donated its services.

Volunteer crews spent most of the day cutting down trees at no charge to the borough.  Police arrived and asked Sukle to unlock herself from the tree and when she refused, police used bolt cutters to free her and she was arrested for disorderly conduct.

New trees will be planted in the Spring and money for the project will not come from the general fund.

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