A life of its own: Marcellus' Champion Black Maple safe in Tim Golick's hands

When the village of Marcellus wanted to cut down the Black Maple tree that towers over Tim Golick's house at 2 Reed Street, over 150 signed petitions saying "no."

The village board had unanimously agreed to take down the tree in order to, for one, install a sidewalk on the north side of lower Reed Street. Mayor John Curtin gave numerous justifications for this in a July 7 letter to the residents written in response to the petitions.

"One of the most important factors contributing to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of the Village of Marcellus is its walk-ability, and our village is a community where one can meet most daily needs on foot and where walking is an interesting, enjoyable and generally safe activity," wrote Curtin.

After review of the petitions, the board had decided to go ahead with its original construction plans and not spare the tree.

At the time, the tree had been deemed the New York State Champion Black Maple by John Graham, forester for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Dan Deyle, certified arborist, had found it to be "in good health with no visible signs of root and/or drown decay, or structural problems that generally lead to removal."

On July 8, upon notification from Tim Golick that the village planned to go ahead with its original plan to cut down the tree, Gerald Gray, acting executive director for American Forests' National Register of Big Trees, wrote a letter to the mayor.

In his letter, Gray outlined the ecological, and even financial, benefits the tree provides to the village of Marcellus.

"From cooling the neighborhood in which it's located and saving money on energy costs, to filtering air pollutants and improving air quality, this champion tree represents all the good work trees do for the environment," he wrote. "Long established and big trees, in particular, clean the air and improve water quality, help offset carbon emissions, provide habitat to wildlife, reduce storm water runoff, and raise real estate value."

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