Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

August 20, 2013

Copper beach tree taken down

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The huge, old copper beech tree near South Transit and Summit streets was cut down Monday.

The tree, on Benderson Development-owned property holding a Rite-Aid store, was "deader than a doornail," Mayor Michael Tucker said Tuesday.

The tree was the subject of community concern in the mid-2000s when the state proposed widening the Transit-Summit intersection. Ultimately the Department of Transportation altered its construction plans to spare the tree. Sidewalk was even laid around the tree base in deference to it.

Although the tree is on private property, a Benderson representative sought the city's blessing, in writing, to take it down. Tucker sent the approving e-mail after learning a large limb from the brittle, leaf-less tree had fallen onto South Transit Street a few weeks ago.

"They were very gun-shy about taking it down — that tree is the tree, right? — but of course it had to come down," he said. "That limb could have crushed a car."

The mayor's office fielded a couple of phone calls about the tree Tuesday, one from an upset resident and another from a man who asked the city's help getting some of the wood from the copper beech. The man said he wants to make a sculpture/memorial to the tree and display it permanently at City Hall, according to Tucker.