Don’t remain silent about park vandalism
Monday, October 4, 2010 - 11:38 am

To the Editor:

I am a member of the Canton Garden Club and a professor in the Veterinary Technology Program at SUNY Canton.

Last night (Sept. 26) I returned home from a weekend trip to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Mass. While passing through Troy, N.Y., I stopped and purchased several trees with the intent to plant them on the grounds at SUNY Canton or possibly in the park on the corner of Court and Pearl streets in Canton. This summer BJ Wilkinson and I were in charge of beautifying this little park in the midst of our town. We had planted a wonderful assortment of common as well as unusual trees for the Canton area including: four hardy forsythia, three witch-hazel, a Russian olive, a Japanese lilac, a blue spruce, three azaleas and a beautiful Elizabeth magnolia.

The 7-8 foot tall magnolia with a two to three inch diameter trunk was the crown jewel of our project.

Most of the plants were planted in May and June. We planted, mulched and watered–and watered–this summer to get things established. We carried pails of water from the Community Bank spigot to water our plantings.

Last night at 9:30 I swung by the park to see if there might be room to plant a tulip tree that I had just purchased. It as well as the daffodils that I had also bought would go along wonderfully with the yellow theme that we had developed.

As I walked around the park, I was appreciative that the village had removed the large stump from the dangerous maple tree that had been cut down in June.

My eye was suddenly drawn to the magnolia–it was no longer there! All that remained was a six inch frayed stub. The tree had been broken off and carried away. On Friday it had been there when the stump was removed. Now 48 hours later this beautiful, valuable tree was also gone.

Who were the vandals who had so callously destroyed and taken a part of Canton with them? Did they realize how much time and effort had been invested in that tree?

I hauled if from Syracuse with my trunk tied down since it extended from the front window through the car and was hanging over the rim of the trunk. A friend and I spent over an hour digging a three-foot deep hole by hand on a hot mid-June day.

The anticipation in the hearts of the Garden Club members was palpable. We wanted to see this tree grow and be an eye catcher in our little park. This focal point has now been removed. People sitting at the new picnic table and bench will now have to focus on something else besides the stately magnolia that had been there.

If anyone knows anything about this incident, please contact the St. Lawrence University police, the SUNY Canton police, the village police, the county sheriff or the state police–or me at beanet@canton.edu.

This incident occurred across the street from the St. Lawrence County Public Safety Complex and the County Courthouse. How could this happen in the center of our town with the police across the street?

I contemplated remaining silent, but there is too much complacency in this world. People need to speak up and encourage others to speak up if they see anything out of the ordinary happening in our village of Canton or in any of the other communities where the readers of this newspaper live.

I feel like I have been robbed. I don’t like to see the meanness of people shine through with acts like this. Let’s encourage people to be watchful in our communities. The sad individuals who are perpetrating deeds such as this need to be told that they are not welcome here.

Tony Beane, DVM

Canton