Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 For You: City Tree A Deep Rooted Problem For Bronx Homeowners

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Local homeowners in one section of The Bronx say a curbside tree is uprooting their lives and want the city to fix it before it causes more harm. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following "NY1 For You" report.

Homeowners living along a stretch of Pilgrim Avenue in the the Bronx say a massive city tree is growing out of control.

"It's bigger and better than before. It's lifting everything up, the concrete is beyond repair," says Bronx resident Joe Antico.

Antico says the roots of the curbside tree are cracking and lifting the sidewalk outside of his home, creating a safety hazard for anyone who walks by.

"The trip and fall hazard is apparent just by looking at the concrete," says Antico.

"You don't have to be a genius or an engineer to see the level of the sidewalk," says Bronx resident Vincenzo Mastrogiacomo.

And it's not the first time the city tree has wreaked havoc. Antico says 10 years ago the same roots caused a water main to break. He says the city repaired the sidewalk, but it was only a temporary fix. Now residents are worried even more pipes will crack.

"If it was on my property, I could take it down anytime I wanted to. But because it's by the street, it's city property, yet we're responsible for any damage the tree causes," says Antico.

The homeowner says the multiple complaints he's filed to the city over the years have gone unanswered. Antico says a few months ago he received paperwork stating he might be eligible for a free pilot program in which the city would repair his sidewalk but he doesn’t know when and if that will happen.

NY1 contacted the city's Department of Parks and Recreation and a spokesperson told us the location on Pilgrim Avenue is scheduled for repair under its next Trees and Sidewalk contract and they hope to fix it by next summer. The spokesperson added that as part of the new repairs, the sidewalks will be shaped to avoid future damage by roots.

It's relieving news, but not soon enough, say homeowners.

"There's just too many dangers associated with it and we just want to rectify it," says Antico.

"NY1 For You" will continue to follow the story.

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