Sometime between January 26 and February 4 of this year approximately 26 trees were suddenly cut down on Town of Stony Point property at Letchworth near Kirkbride Hall, behind the courthouse and other locations nearer to the road. Many of the trees were 10-12 inches in diameter and several were larger. The tree trunks did not indicate that they had been damaged by disease. One was over 36 inches in diameter. Supervisor Geoff Finn and the town board were questioned at the Feb 14 Town Board meeting about how and why the trees were suddenly cut. No answers were given by the board.
The supervisor said at the time the he was “as surprised as anyone” about the trees being cut down and that “he would look in to it.” In a subsequent conversation, Supervisor Finn said that the trees were cut by the Town of Stony Point but that it was not done under his direction or knowledge. He said the decision to cut the trees was made before he became supervisor. The question of who, why and how the trees were cut remains a mystery. If the trees were cut by town employees without the supervisor’s knowledge, that raises other questions.
SPACE’s position is that the Letchworth property is town property and owned by the residents of the town and that includes the trees. While the town has the responsibility to maintain the property, the cutting of 26 large trees without any public discussion was wrong. The taxpayers of Stony Point voted to purchase the Letchworth property in the late 1990s and we are the stakeholders on any decision for its future use. Town mismanagement of the entire golf course planning and construction process in the early 2000s lead has created a tax burden for the golf course well beyond its actual worth. Indications seem to be that Supervisor Finn may be more interested in selling the golf course than in fully developing it as a town owned asset. Whatever be the case, the process for deciding what, why and how should be clearly stated, publicly discussed, transparent and engage the interests of the community.
George Potanovic, Jr.
President, Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment