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Removal of Potsdam’s pear trees delayed

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POTSDAM — Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis said Monday night that he and the village board are listening to community concerns about the pear trees downtown, and have delayed action until the board can look into other options.

“I just want to assure everyone that this board is listening,” Mr. Yurgartis said. “Given the concerns raised, we are going to pause to re-evaluate our alternatives.”

Mr. Yurgartis said he is trying to collect additional information on alternatives to replacing the trees and should have a more complete report by the board’s next meeting.

In the meantime, he urged the public to consider that grant money does exist — as part of the village’s waterfront revitalization plan — to replace the trees at no cost to village residents, and that the trees have cost the village $8,300 per year to clean up after. The village spends 14 days’ labor on the cleanup each year at $594 per day, according to Mr. Yurgartis.

The pears have been a thorn in the side of downtown businesses for many years, with owners voicing repeated complaints.

“As much as we love our pear trees, the concerns of those merchants need to be taken seriously as well,” said Mr. Yurgartis, calling downtown businesses important to the village’s future.

He said the village is committed to beautifying Potsdam’s village with tree-lined streets, and invited the community to direct its questions about the future of the pear trees to him and other members of the village board.

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