The Veterans’ Monument on the Village Green is a quiet, strong presence in the midst of a busy spot. This is part of its appeal – the meditative space sits next to a bustling green, accompanied frequently by the farmers market, Boy Scouts selling Christmas trees, or children playing.
Though the outdoor space was planted just three years ago, as time passes, the committee charged with its care is making some changes to the surrounding landscape in order to make the monument more accessible to visitors and to protect the monument’s structural integrity.
Sam Feitelberg, chair of the Veterans Committee, said the group has decided to remove the five Korean maple trees surrounding the stone and brick monument in order to safeguard the structure of the monument and to increase visitor visibility at special events.
For example, he explained, the Boy Scouts built a portable, accessible stage to be used for events such as last year’s Veterans Day ceremony at the monument. The placement of the stage is limited to one area and when it’s in place, the trees will block much of the audience’s view.
Another issue is root growth, according to an email from chair of the monument’s maintenance committee, James Donaldson. A significant area of the monument’s ground space is made of bricks with the names and service dates of servicemen and women who have passed. If the maple tree roots grow under the bricks, they could disrupt and displace them. He advises that the committee should “take immediate action rather than waiting until visual evidence is present, such as heaving/lifting of bricks.”
Though there is some cost associated with removing the maple trees, Donaldson predicts that long-term solutions will prove to be more costly and might not be effective. Resetting bricks in the future, plus paying to have the limbs lifted each fall, would add a significant expense over time.
Shelburne Tree Warden Dave Hall, along with V.J. Comai of Bartlett’s Tree Service, will remove the maples within the next month, before the ground freezes. Comai, Hall said, is generously donating his time and expertise to the project. One tree has sustained damage from disease, and might not survive the transfer, but the others will be stored at the town garage over the winter. Hall said they hope to replant them on Arbor Day in a special ceremony in conjunction with the Boy Scouts and the Veterans Committee.
It’s important to the committee that they communicate and cooperate with other town agencies, committees, and citizens, and that they all collaborate to create a reverent, usable space. “We want to work together,” Feitelberg said. “We want everybody to be happy.”