Trees cut downtown to give race fans better view
More than 100 trees are coming down in downtown Baltimore so spectators at the Grand Prix race on Labor Day weekend can get better views of cars speeding through the streets. (UPDATE: City official says no more than 50 trees to be removed, with nearly 200 to be planted in compensation. See later post here.)
The Baltimore Sun reports that trees are being removed along West Pratt Street, at the Inner Harbor and near Camden Yards. The first few fell to chainsaws Monday across from the Convention Center.
A total of 136 trees are to be cut down, but race organizers plan to replant them (plus three extras, apparently) - a cycle they'll evidently repeat every year for the next four, under the deal the city has to host the Grand Prix through 2015.
Baltimore Racing Development, the company running the three-day event, worked out the tree removal and replacement plan with the city's Office of Sustainability, the Downtown Partnership and the Waterfront Partnership, according to the Sun.
For what it's worth, the city's sustainability plan calls for doubling Baltimore's meager tree canopy, from 20 percent of the urban landscape to 40 percent by 2037. Guess this won't exactly be backsliding if the whacked trees get replaced every year, but not exactly progress, either.
(Trees being removed across from Convention Center. Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.)