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Effort Forms to Save Centuries-Old Teaneck Tree

County report says historic oak tree is a safety risk

An online petition seeking to halt a plan to chop down a centuries-old oak tree at Cedar Lane and Palisade Avenue has gained about two dozen signatures since it was launched Monday.

The petition was formed following a report that county officials were set to remove the oak by Memorial Day because of a tree expert's report citing safety concerns.

"We, concerned residents and former residents, demand that the demolition be halted and postponed while outside, independent tree specialists are brought in to offer their opinions on the tree's health and likelihood that it poses a threat to the community's safety," the petition, posted on change.org, states.

Jeanne Baratta, Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan's chief of staff, told Patch on Friday that the tree was largely hollow, attracting termites and decaying. A report by the county's tree expert concluded the tree presented a safety hazard and should be removed.

Baratta said the county would await another inspection from a tree expert hired by the Puffin Foundation, which helped preserve the massive oak.

News that the tree would be removed came months after Teaneck officially designated the oak as a historic site. It is believed to be at least 250 years old. 

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zizi May 21, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Put this tree on craigslist and let whoever takes it free have it... no cost to tax payers....
Barbara Ley Toffler May 22, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Not to be melodramatic, but it seems this old oak has become symbolic of the strength and decency that once was Teaneck, NJ. It's loss will seal what our leadership has done to this once special community. Please, for once, no snarky responses.
Tina Horowitz May 22, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Not sure if my earlier response to zizi came through, but no, we were interested in hiring someone with private donations, not taxpayer funds. And what has always drawn many people to Teaneck is the town's beauty, parks, old houses, general aesthetics, which are slowly disappearing in many ways. Short sighted interest in "helping taxpayers" without respecting the town's history and aesthetics will destroy its beauty and end up driving potential new residents to live in other communities where environmental and historic preservation are cherished.
Who Is John Galt May 22, 2013 at 02:05 AM
Sorry, Dr. Toffler, not to be snarky, but I do disagree with your interpretation of the tree's symbolism. I do not see it as a symbol of strength and decensy; I see it as a symbol of wasted political time, money, energy, attention, and a whole lot of grandstanding.
Lisa Dee May 22, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Barbara, I know in the 1950's 1960's Teaneck was one of the best towns to live. Great schools,(kids and teachers). Teaneck High school and Dwight Morrow in Englewood were the top high schools. Cedar Lane was a bustling busy place in the 1950's and 1960's. Sadly, but since the mid to late 1970's the demographics, the schools and business district have been on a steady path down. Where today the kinds of families who would have chosen Teaneck in the past to live don't even have Teaneck as a remote possibility to move to. Poorly rated schools,demographic shift, a town who has lost its vibrancy in so many ways, the condition of our business district and inability to attract change. Unless you are religous, a young upward mobile family is not picking Teaneck so the future looks very bleak. Again sadly the tree has no meaning to the vast population who now reside in Teaneck. Its like the old timers from Palisades Park, Fort Lee, Closter etc. they realized its not the town they grew up in and found they needed to move on because the town now belonged to a new group of people, its called change....

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