The housing authority is evicting 12 residents.
Arboreal residents, that is.
At the regular commissioners meeting Thursday night, commissioners voted approval of a $63,875 work order/contract to repave the plaza of the headquarters building at Orange and Audubon Streets.
That work, to be undertaken in the spring by a local Mill River-based firm, Concrete Creations, will involve replacing the concrete around the building’s pillars, repaving the plaza and sidewalk with fancier stenciled concrete in a brick paver pattern, and also replacing 12 aging pear trees.
The trees will be replaced by half as many ulmus parvifolias, or dynasty elms.
Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH) architect Frank Emery said the plan, which the City Plan Commission approved in the fall, was triggered by the poor condition of the trees. He said too many of them were planted too closely together.
In their desperation for more light and water, the pear trees have been leaning like a parched chorus toward the street, sending their roots up through the highly trafficked sidewalk.
Urban Resources Initiative Associate Director Chris Ozyck said the tree trade-off is a good deal, and needed.
He concurred that the pears, likely planted in the 1980s, are in bad shape. Ozyck said New Haven, like many other cities, has stopped planting these “fast growing, short-lived” trees. The trees are too big and in too poor shape for any form of recycling or re-purposing, he added.
Ozyck called the planned elms “a much better choice for long-term viability.”
Although this project decreases the number by half—due to the space and the light availability—“City Plan in general has been very good, increasing the number of trees per application,” Ozyck said.
Emery said the concrete and tree work will begin in the spring and take about two months to complete.