Connecticut: 100 gorgeous Cherry trees destroyed in the name of revitalization?

Blustery, bitterly cold morning, the grove of mature cherry trees in
Mill River Park appeared particularly stooped with gnarled branches
bent under a steel-gray sky. Come spring, these trees will most likely
not be showing off their familiar bright pink blossoms.

Nearly all of
the 100 cherry trees, which were planted by a Japanese immigrant in
the 1950s, are scheduled to be removed soon to make way for the
wide-reaching Mill River revitalization project. Bright yellow notices
stapled to the trunks said the public had until Dec. 26 to appeal the
tree removal in writing. Taking down the trees is planned as a step in
a decades-long effort by the city to renovate the river corridor, a
move that advocates say would transform the rundown riverfront
promenade into a world-class urban park similar to Central Park. But
some residents maintain that once the trees are gone, a part of the
city’s history will be lost, too. “I’m not a tree hugger,” said Mary
Spinei, 53, who plans to mobilize a protest against the tree removal.
“Don’t get me wrong. But I think these trees stand for something. In
the 1940s, when Japanese were being interned across the country, this
one man was warmly welcomed into Stamford. His gift to the city was a
symbol of that.” The man, Junzo Nojima, a Japanese immigrant who
opened a restaurant on Atlantic Street in 1933, planted the trees in
the late 1950s. For years, he cared for them, often filling buckets
from the river to water them. Each spring, a profusion of pink cherry
blossoms from the trees brighten the park, known informally as Cherry
Park. In the past, the town has celebrated the display with a cherry
blossom festival in the park called Sakura Matsuri to highlight the
floral fireworks enlivening the banks of the drab, concrete-walled
river running through Stamford’s downtown district.

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