Residents hear from officials about West Hartford dredging proje - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Residents hear from officials about West Hartford dredging project

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Neighbors upset about hundreds of trees torn down in West Hartford (WFSB) Neighbors upset about hundreds of trees torn down in West Hartford (WFSB)
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The tree controversy in West Hartford continues, and on Wednesday night residents got some of their questions answered.

This all started a few weeks ago, when the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the workers went into the Linwood area and hauled out tree stumps that were cut, but the workers were not supposed to do that.

It was all part of a dredging project in the area of Trout Brook Drive.

Crews are supposed to dredge Trout Brook every five years, but it hasn’t been done in 15 because of budget issues.

The state said it sent letters to the town to do yearly maintenance, which they said wasn’t done, and if it was they claimed this would have been a smaller project.

Residents gathered on Wednesday evening for a meeting with officials, and many said they now have a better understanding of the project, but that doesn't mean they like it any better.

DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said while the state should have held a meeting weeks ago, the bottom line is that the project must continue. While it may hurt the view for many, it is meant to protect their basements from flood waters.

Homeowners like Paul Palmer were told some trees would go and others would stay, but much more were taken down.

“The project is going to go forward, you can see what they've done already," Palmer said.

According to drawings for the specific neighborhood, it states that contractors will remove “vegetation type 1.”

According to state paperwork, that only includes clearing of grass, shrubs, brush and sapling vegetation that has a diameter of 2 inches or less.

Anything over 2 inches needs to be reviewed by DEEP before cutting it down, like trees.

Officials from DEEP said they gave contractors the okay and the town was aware of it.

Meanwhile, the majority of residents are in favor of the project, as it is aimed to prevent flooding, but they want to know what will happen next.

“We want to get this back so that the community can use it again. We want to get this back so that it looks nice again for the neighborhood," Palmer said.

The project had delayed but it will resume next week.

The project also expands into Hartford, at the South Branch Park River, and in Newington, at Mill Brook, involving a total of more than nine miles.

A similar session has been set for Nov. 5 at Newington's town council chambers. Work on the South Branch Park River flood control system is slated to start soon. That meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

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