As we reported two years ago, RIOC’s hacking of the inkberry tree row shading the East Promenade was a mistake. But the sheer brutality and neglectfulness turned out much worse than we feared. Easy to say, “RIOC did it again,” but hard understanding why.
by David Stone
The Inkberry Chopping As It Happened in 2020
After an appalled resident saw a landscaping crew butchering the inkberry tree row the community appreciated for its shade on summer days, I showed a video to RIOC’s then-Acting President Shelton J. Haynes.
RIOC’s crew was not only doing an unbelievably bad job out of season, they were rude about it when confronted.
Haynes shook his head, explaining that – as RIOC’s new leader – he didn’t want that behavior. Two years down the road, it’s no longer a surprise when nothing gets done, and nothing did.
Inkberry trees are native to the Northeast. They grow in the wild from Maine to Virginia, and they’re common in New York City parks.
They’re not hard to grow. If you can grow a tomato plant, you can grow an inkberry. They come back from the roots every year, and they don’t get very big. So what happened?
The short answer is that RIOC allowed poisonous, invasive weeds to overwhelm them. The long answer is more complicated, but it’s worth telling. RIOC’s retreat into negligence under Haynes is visible and far-reaching.
We’ve been there, but these photos tell a story. We can only hope that the bosses in Albany are paying attention. Haynes is too detached and weak in character to lead change, especially change reversing the messes on his watch, but we elected others to act in our interests.
The time is now.
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