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Brockport man responds to state's change in canal tree removal plan

(WHAM photo)

Brockport, N.Y. - The State Canal Corporation suddenly changed its plan to clear trees and brush along the Erie Canal's edge. That's a relief for those on the east side of town, but doesn't change what's already been cut down on the west side.

One Brockport homeowner said, over a month ago, he also wanted to keep the line of trees in his backyard - just like many living along the Erie Canal in Brighton, Perinton and Pittsford.

Now, he believes the tree removal project is not all bad and is actually necessary.

"Am I still upset? Am I still angry? I’m beyond all that now,” said Douglas Kucmerowski. “My wife and I are just saying now, 'Well, it's different.'"

The state's goal is to cut back trees and shrubs along the Erie Canal shoreline to help drainage and leaks in neighboring yards. This caused an uproar for homeowners.

There was an outcry from people in Pittsford, Perinton and Brighton to change the state's plan. And they got it Thursday night.

Part of the amended project is to hire a certified arborist, tailoring the approach to only removing trees that might be threat and leave others standing.

Kucmerowski said he doesn't believe it'll go down like that.

"So, if they're going to take the extra step and get an arborist in to say that's a locust and a shallow rooted tree, it can stay," he said. "But it can't stay. If it's anywhere within the top third on either side, it’s out. It just has to go."

Kucmerowski said he’s still trying to cope the new view from his house. However, he is still concerned about privacy, trespassing and safety.

"There's going to be good things too,” Kucmerowski said. “Our house is a little warmer now. We get a lot of direct sunlight now. I don't have to cut a path for a sledding hill. The whole thing is a sledding hill now."

Kucmerowski says he's been in contact with the Canal Corporation to plant trees, if needed to provide privacy.

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