A handful of white pines by the borough tennis courts are now facing the axe as River Edge considers utilizing part of its 2013 Open Space Trust Fund to replace the offending trees.
The white pines, which have been identified as causing damage to the courts by dripping sap, could to remove and replace with a set of holly bushes in their place.
"We made a big investment in the tennis courts and recreation is estimated it would cost $2,000 to clean the courts every year," Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy said. "I think that should go back into the allocations."
The tree removal was previously removed from the proposed 2013 Open Space allocations to allow for the installation of a lightning detection system and setting aside approximately $40,000 for the future lighting replacement at KBG field.
"Open space is for preservation and conservation," Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo said. "Cutting down trees is not open space. It doesn’t serve the public trust to use open space money to cut down trees."
As a compromise, the borough will cover the cost of planting holly bushes near the tennis courts so long as Recreation can locate available funding for removing the white pines.
"This should have been anticipated before the tennis courts were redone," Councilman Ed Mignone said. "They may have to put off something else and allocate operational funding to do this."
Currently the 2013 Open Space Trust Funding allocations are as follows:
- $9,500 - DPW
- 11,270 - Recreation Park Maintenance
- $8,670 - Recreation Field Maintenance
- $28,468 - Lightning Detection System
- $40,000 - Set Aside for KBG Lighting Replacement Project
- $3,000 - Holly Bush plantings at tennis courts
- $11,000 - Shade Tree planting trees in borough parks
- $5,560 - Extension of Little League fence
- $2,000 - Recreation Sap Removal from Tennis Courts
- $1,500 - 9/11 Memorial Gardens
- $1,500 - Beautification Committee
- $1,500 - Green Team
- $1,000 - Environmental Committee
- $750 - Historic Committee
The final available Open Space Trust Fund amount will be certified before the end of the month. Until that point, any estimated allotments can be amended by the governing body.