Juniper Valley Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parks Asks the Community's Assistance in Nabbing Juniper Valley Park Tree Killer

Over the weekend, 12 newly planted trees were destroyed at Juniper Valley Park in Queens. This incident marks the fourth case of tree damage this year at the park and a $2,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in this arborcide. It is believed that the trees were cut with an electric saw, either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. They were just planted in the park this past spring. Ten were cherry trees and two were oaks.

“Arborcide is a serious criminal offense and an assault on our communities, and the loss of 12 newly planted trees in Juniper Valley Park is a blow to the quality of live and environmental health of Juniper Valley Park. Trees are a valuable asset, providing shade and oxygen, cleaning the air, and creating homes for wildlife,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The Parks Department is committed to protecting our trees and we are grateful to the Juniper Valley Civic Association, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, and former Council Member Tom Ognibene for generously offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime against nature.”

“The Parks Department thanks the community for stepping up and reporting this terrible incident of tree destruction,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “Juniper Valley Park is a gem for Middle Village and we will continue to work with NYPD to track down the person or persons responsible for vandalizing the park.”

“The Juniper Park Civic Association takes great pride in our role of working with Parks to help make Juniper Valley Park one of the most beautiful parks in the City of New York,” said Robert Holden, President of the Juniper Park Civic Association. “This premeditated arborcide is a serious attack on our quality of life and we pledge all of our resources in helping the Department of Parks apprehend the person or persons responsible for this atrocity.”

“Arborcide is a senseless crime. I am very disappointed that someone would be so destructive to our community,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “I will continue to work with the Juniper Park Civic Association, the Parks Department and community members to raise awareness about this unacceptable act of destruction. I want to let these tree killers know that there acts of vandalism will not be taken lightly this community.”

There is a $2,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of any individual involved in the arborcide, with the Juniper Park Civic Association offering $500, and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley and former Council Member Tom Ognibene each offering an additional $1,000. Arborcide is punishable with up to $15,000 in fines and up to one year in prison. It is illegal and punishable by law for citizens to remove, kill or damage a street or park tree, whether intentionally or accidentally.

Juniper Valley Park has been victim of tree arborcide and vandalism four times this year, with more than 20 trees victimized. In April, low branches were torn off a number of trees overnight. In June, two trees were found damaged in the park and in July, seven trees were damaged, leaving four uprooted, two completely destroyed and one with trunk damage.

If you have any information on this crime, please call the NYPD Crime stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.


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