red bank what's going on herePart of Buttonwood Drive in Fair Haven was closed to traffic Tuesday as workers in crane buckets worked up in the street’s famed canopy of sycamore trees.

What’s Going On Here?

A view from the foot of Buttonwood Drive at Linden Place. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

The stately trees are getting a needed pruning, borough officials said.

Frontier Tree is trimming dead limbs, grinding stumps and removing seven trees deemed hazardous, borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande told the borough council last month. The project will cost $28,400, which was the lower of two bids, she said.

The work was recommended last July by arborist Zig Panek, who was hired to conduct an analysis of the street’s 119 sycamores.

Many are originals from the early 19oos, when they were planted on either side of what was then the driveway to Rumson Hill, the Thomas McCarter estate. Others date to the 1940s, when they were planted to replace originals damaged and destroyed in a storm, Panek wrote.

The McCarter property was eventually subdivided for housing developments, but the narrow lane, and its sentinels of trees, remained. All are now more than 60 feet tall, Panek wrote.

But improper pruning has left them susceptible to disease, Panek wrote. One tree fell on a house last year, Casagrande said.

Buttonwood Drive residents were informed of the planned work in a January 14 letter, with “no one not in favor of it,” she said.

Maintaining the canopy “is important to the identity of the borough,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli said at the time.

Here’s Panek’s analysis: Buttonwood Lane Tree report July 2020.

Filmmaker and borough resident Chris Benner made a documentary about Rumson Hill in 2017.

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