Repurposing nature

City mulls breathing life into dead trees

Submitted Photo. Pictured is a stump carving at a residence on Irwin Road in the town of Cherry Creek. City of Dunkirk officials are looking to take inspiration from the carving to address some of the dead trees in Point Gratiot Park in a unique way.

A unique idea to address the dead trees in the city of Dunkirk’s Point Gratiot Park is taking root.

At the recent Department of Public Works Committee meeting, First Ward Councilman Don Williams brought up an idea that has been a hit with Harbor Commission members.

“I’ve been attending the Harbor Commission meetings and they’re always talking about there being a lot of dead trees (at Point Gratiot). In my travels with my job with the county, I saw some different carvings. I was thinking if it didn’t cost too much, we could do this. I brought this up to the Harbor Commission and they loved the idea and want to see us cut some trees down and maybe do some carvings down there like that. … Jim Nichols (chairman) has really taken the lead on it. He contacted a carver … he does carving on the side. He looked at the picture and said it would cost $1,000 to $2,000 depending on how tough the tree was. I believe Mr. Nichols said he would get donations to get one done and I was thinking if we have money left over from the $500,000 (grant) for the Point, we could do something there,” he said. “It’s just an idea. I don’t know where we go from here. Instead of cutting the trees down, stumping them and planting grass, we could do something like that. They carve them out, paint them and put a protective coating on them. I think it might be neat to have people going through the park and see that.”

He showed an example of a carving he saw in his travels in the town of Cherry Creek that includes an eagle, bear and turkey and said Nichols had identified nine dead trees at the Point.

Interim DPW Director Randy Woodbury said the art students at the State University of New York at Fredonia may also be able to help.

Mayor Willie Rosas said it was worth looking into the cost.

Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto asked that the growth along the cliff at the Point be trimmed back.

“It’s being used more this year. Last year we had a record-breaking summer; it was great. We haven’t had a great summer and we’ve had more people using our parks, which means we have more people coming into town and we need to address some stuff,” he said.

Williams noted he has seen poison ivy in the weeds along that edge.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Stacy Szukala also asked if the “craters” in the driveway to Cedar Beach could be filled as well as trash cans put out.