Arborists said the decaying trees at Robie Park in Gorham should be harvested due to safety concerns, and the trees were cut down this week. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The felling of a stand of decades-old pines at Robie Park this week upset some Gorham residents, but arborists said the trees posed a danger.

The trees on the northern tip of the town-owned park near a softball field on the high school campus were cut down for safety concerns at a cost to the School Department of $19,000, according to Superintendent Heather Perry.

The stand of trees that was felled in Robie Park in Gorham this week. Contributed / Town of Gorham

“Both the town and the school have had arborists come by and look at the health of those trees and have recommended that they be removed,” Perry said.

Cindy Hazelton, director of Gorham Parks and Recreation, said limbs had fallen from the trees, which were compromised during several violent storms in recent years. Some of the limbs were barely hanging on and “had the potential of falling on someone,” she said. One limb bell and damaged a light pole at the ball field.

A Sylvan Road resident said she hadn’t heard of any plans to cut down the trees.

“I was going for a walk yesterday and saw the trees coming down … that’s how I was notified,” Lisa Bolduc told the American Journal Tuesday. “It’s disappointing.”

The tree removal spurred a flurry of comments on Facebook.


“Shameful,” one posting said. Another person opined, “The town is killing itself.”

An example of trees that had to be cut down due to decay in Robie Park. Contributed / Gorham School Department

The Town Council in 2020 approved the removal of “dangerous trees” between the high school parking lot and Robie Field. Councilors James Hager and Virginia Wilder Cross voted against the removal.

“If my memory serves me, the way the proposal was presented, it did not make sense to me to cut them down,” said Hager, who is now the council vice chairperson.

Hager estimated the trees to be at least 70 years old.

Perry said there are no plans for the area where the trees were removed.

“Over the years there have been discussions regarding making that area into additional parking for GHS students and staff since many high school students already park in there among the trees, but that is not a plan at this time as we are still working with the town of Gorham to determine long-term plans for the GHS facility,” Perry said.

Neighbors have feared the park will be lost among studies to expand the aging high school and address its  parking shortage. Many “Save The Park” signs have been displayed on lawns along Morrill Avenue, which leads to the high school from South Street.

“They can’t make more land and there’s never going to be enough at this current site,”  Bolduc said. “Even with using the entire Robie Park, this location is not going to work for a school with 1,000-plus students.”

“They are paving paradise to put up a parking lot,” another Facebook post said, a reference to the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell.

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