By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Tom Mcguire is adamant that Sea Isle City should replace all of the dead trees lining the main entryway into town.
Mcguire, a resident of 40th Street, first urged city officials in January to have the scraggly and leafless trees removed from the John F. Kennedy Boulevard corridor.
Noting that the dead trees are still there, Mcguire appealed to City Council at its meeting Tuesday to take action.
“We’ve got all these dead plants and trees here,” he told Council.
City Business Administrator George Savastano assured Mcguire that the city is following up with a landscape architect and the contractor that planted the trees to find out how many should be replaced.
Savastano said no date has been set yet for planting new trees.
On Arbor Day in 2019, Sea Isle officials celebrated the planting of dozens of new trees that were expected to add lush green scenery in the spring and summer and a canopy of brilliant colors in the fall along the main gateway into town.
Altogether, 40 trident maples were planted along both sides of the JFK Boulevard entrance and 35 sweetbay magnolias were added to the Landis Avenue corridor in the downtown business district between 39th and 43rd streets as part of a $98,000 beautification project in 2019.
It is not immediately known how many trees are dying or have died. However, the magnolias are under warranty until May 2021 and the maples until November 2021, according to Sea Isle’s municipal website.
Savastano said during a City Council meeting in January, when Mcguire first complained about the dead trees, that the city would either have them replaced by the contractor or get reimbursed for those under warranty.
Mcguire told the Council members during their teleconference meeting Tuesday that “quite a few” trees appear to be dead near City Hall and the municipal marina.
He indicated he was concerned that the dying or dead trees would not create a good impression for visitors arriving in town for the summer vacation season.
The maples and magnolias planted in 2019 had replaced scrawny and dead trees that were leftovers from Sea Isle’s multimillion-dollar “Beach to Bay” beautification of JFK Boulevard completed in 2013. A series of road, landscaping, safety and municipal projects were added to the central corridor stretching from the city’s marina to the beachfront Promenade over a five-year span.
Leafy green trees were counted on in 2013 and then again in 2019 to add a touch of natural beauty to complement the city’s manmade attractions.
The shore’s harsh environment – the salt air and blustery winter conditions – make it hard for some trees to survive. Ironically, the trident maples and sweetbay magnolias were touted as being salt-tolerant and conducive for the seashore environment when they were planted in 2019.
Meanwhile, to celebrate Arbor Day this year, members of Sea Isle’s Environmental Commission, Garden Club and Historical Society are scheduled to dedicate two new sycamore trees at 12 noon Friday at 44th Street and Landis Avenue. The event is open to the public.