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Saplings for Sunderland

Local residents replace lost maples

From left to right: Richard Dickinson, John Benjamin Sr., and his son Steven Benjamin help plant trees on South Main Street in Sunderland.

From left to right: Richard Dickinson, John Benjamin Sr., and his son Steven Benjamin help plant trees on South Main Street in Sunderland.

SUNDERLAND — For years, Sunderland resident Craig Felton has watched as the regal maple trees that line South Main Street have been battered by storms, succumbed to disease, or met their end, one by one, with a chainsaw’s bite.

“Sunderland has always had, for as long as I can remember, these wonderful maple trees lining both sides of the street,” said Felton. “Over the years, the trees have live out their lifetimes and been cut down, which left gaps in the treeline.”

Felton wanted something to be done to restore the trees, but he knew the town was short on money, and that the money it did have was needed for essential services like the fire and highway departments and the schools.

So, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“I said, ‘I live in this neighborhood, so I’ll donate,’” said Felton.

Together with fellow South Main Street resident Richard Trousdell, he purchased five maple trees from Sugarloaf Nursery and rallied other friends and neighbors to help plant the approximately 10-foot tall trees in the empty spaces. Tony Kudrikow of South Main Street also helped, along with Sunderland resident John Benjamin Sr. and his son, Steve Benjamin, who brought out their family’s old backhoe and dug through trees roots and soil so that the trees could be planted close to their original location.

After the planting was completed, Felton said, the town highway department added additional topsoil and around the trees as a finishing touch.

Felton said many of his neighbors have expressed their satisfaction with the newly planted trees.

“We all love this town, and there’s a lot of joy that they’ve been planted,” Felton said. “I’ll be long gone before these trees are mature, but that’s what a town spirit should be all about, looking out for the next generation.”

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