The Third Track Committee with the advice of the heads of our Parks Department and Building Department have been negotiating and pushing the MTA/LIRR and its contractors to significantly enhance the original landscaping plan.
Under the original plan for the Third Track project, the MTA/LIRR made only minimal commitments to replace vegetation, trees and the like. As the project was a widening of the footprint for the tracks without taking of any additional land, MTA/LIRR never could commit to replace all growth that had occurred over decades within its property lines. It did commit to replace vegetation and trees that were removed outside of its property line, but only to a limited size.
Through the work of the Village Board of Trustees, we were able to get additional commitments in a Memorandum of Understanding that the Village would be entitled to apply for and receive up to $2.5 million through the Community Fund under the Third Track Project, and other commitments to enhance landscaping, far in excess of the requirements under the actual project plans. To date, we have applied to use at least $800,000 of such funds to primarily enhance landscaping along the Main Line corridor.
We have also received commitments from the MTA/LIRR and the contractors for even more trees and shrubs and hedges and have been working for months to finalize a definitive and binding landscaping plan that is being paid for solely by the contractors; it is important to note that this expenditure does not include reduce the money available to us from the Community Funds. Of the many issues that we are pressing is that larger trees and shrubs be planted - especially in light of the placement of the large poles. For example, and just as one example, we are pushing them to plant many trees in the 30-foot size. You may note that when the Village replaces trees, we plant trees about 12 feet high.