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CIDNA opposes removal of Hennepin Avenue trees

Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Director of Public Works
Minneapolis City Hall
350 S 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Dear Director Kelliher:

The Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association strongly opposes the City plan to cut down the trees of Hennepin Avenue. In our environmentally aware community, it is beyond understanding that the destruction of mature urban trees would even be considered.

Minneapolis has an explicit and measurable goal to increase the urban tree canopy. But we are failing to meet it. For years Minneapolis has continuously lost trees because of the three D’s: disease, weather disasters and development. There is nothing we can do about the first two Ds, but development is completely under our control.

Some people claim the trees can be replaced. That is false. It takes 25 years to replace a 25-year-old tree, and 40 years to replace a 40-year-old tree. That means the 25 or 40 lost years of environmental benefit can never be regained. Meanwhile, experts say we have only a few decades to prevent an environmental apocalypse.

Some claim that cutting down trees is good for the environment when it promotes biking. That is the same convoluted “logic” used in the Vietnam-era justification: “We had to destroy the city (environment) in order to save it.” Please don’t be fooled by that false argument.

The value of urban trees cannot be overstated. They make streets more inviting for residents, workers and shoppers. They make everyone healthier by absorbing pollutants. They can reduce heat by as much as 20 to 45 degrees — not only by shading but through evaporation of water from their leaves (“evapotranspiration”) — thus reducing the need for air conditioning and associated energy demands. They protect buildings from the cold wind, reducing the need for heating.

Trees slow down — and help us manage — stormwater runoff, ultimately protecting our lakes from erosion and pollution. They provide habitat for the critters that, along with us, play a role in the complex, symbiotic chain of life.

Cutting down those trees would send this message to Minneapolis residents: “We care for the environment — except when it interferes with our development plans.” That is the precise development rationale that has kept the world — from Minneapolis to the Amazon rain forest — spiraling downward toward environmental disaster.

Please resist the pressures of aggressive and reckless development; do what is necessary to defend Minneapolis against urban heat island effects by protecting our trees, which are, when all is said and done, the lungs of our city.

Very truly yours,
Cedar-Isles-Dean Board of Directors

Laura Cederberg, Chair
Laura DeMarais
Steve Goltry
Rosanne Halloran
Dean Kephart
Mark Miller
Mary Pattock
Claire Ruebeck
Tim Sheridan
Mike Siebenaler
Amanda Vallone

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