A row of trees along Sutton Road in Cumberland have been vandalized – for the second time.
The trees were planted in the road for aesthetic purposes, but also to separate the delineated bike lane and the vehicle traffic. Some of the young trees that were originally planted in this stretch of road were broken over the summer, and replacements were planted in September.
“These ones were definitely ran over,” said Sundance Topham, chief administrative officer with the Village of Cumberland. “We had someone go out and look at them and it looks like someone – it looked pretty intentional – drove and broke them off. I don’t know why they did it, I don’t know if they were distracted or drunk, but it looked pretty intentional.”
While some in the Village are concerned that planting trees in the road will cause problems when the trees grow larger, Topham says that is not an issue.
“You pick the right species of trees and you excavate it properly and you put in root barriers which stop the roots from going where they’re not supposed to go and everything is fine,” he said.
Topham said the Village will replant the trees and will also look at putting up some sort of barrier to prevent people from driving over them.
“Part of the challenge is that if people want to destroy the trees, whether they drive over them or not, they’re kind of unfortunately in a place where people could break them, which I think happened last time,” he said, adding that they have experienced tree vandalism in the past throughout the Village.
Some trees planted as part of the skatepark project and the Village Park family area improvements, both completed in 2017, were broken shortly after completion of the projects.
“It’s not an epidemic, it’s just that it happens and it’s annoying,” said Topham. “Even for our road project, when we went out for Cumberland Road at the entranceway, someone went and stole a bunch of those trees when we planted them right away. Like literally went and dug them up.”
No video surveillance of the incident is available, but a police report has been filed.
“We’re really doing our best to beautify the Village and make it a safer place, and we would like it if people would stop destroying all the trees we plant.”