Like many other municipalities, the Town of Wheatland has endured the destructive effects of the emerald ash borer. Our highway department has removed many trees that could present a potential safety hazard along the road right of ways or within the boundaries of town owned land. This effort is undertaken as time and money permits while ensuring that all spoils are disposed of per New York State guidelines.
When it became apparent that an ash tree at the entrance to Freeman Park (a town owned park at 845 State Street in Mumford) was diseased, Chuck Hazelton, our highway Superintendent brought the issue before the Wheatland Town Board for a discussion. He noted that the tree was anywhere from 75 – 100 ft. tall and perhaps just as old as it was high. He thought it might present an interesting opportunity to do something creative. The Town Board was “on board” with his idea. From there, the project took shape and the work began in late June and early July. The skeleton of a tree was reduced to a height of about 16 feet. From there, Black Creek Carving, specifically Ric Letourneau, discussed various designs with Chuck and sharpened his chain saw. The Town Board selected a design that would highlight the eagles known to be nesting about the rural areas in our Town. Ric began his custom design woodcarving on the tree about the second week of July. Approximately eight days later, with much saw dust and sweat (the hottest days of the summer) being created, the first phase of the project was completed.
The final phase will consist of two additional steps. The first will be to imbed a Freeman Park sign into the front of the tree. The second will be to place a plaque (also in the tree) recognizing the “Two Mary Anns” who have spent years donating their gardening skills and love of Mumford to beautify the park with flowers. That would be Mary Ann McGinnis and Mary Ann O’Dell. The Town Board and I thank them both profusely for using their friendship and skills to help beautify our community. We also thank the neighbors and residents who endured the chain saw noise and sawdust while this project took a dead tree and brought it back to life through a sculpture. Our expectation is that this sculpture should endure another 40 – 50 years. Please visit Freeman Park and enjoy the sculpture when you have a chance or visit the Town Website and view photos in the Town Photo Gallery. Wishing all a wonderful Fall Season!