City parks and recreation department crews have removed trees that for years had provided shade in an area adjacent to Court Street in downtown Binghamton.

Several workers using chainsaws and other power equipment chopped down tall trees that had lined a section of Commercial Alley, just south of the State Street parking garage.

Tree sections about to be hauled away from Commercial Alley on June 7, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Tree sections about to be hauled away from Commercial Alley on June 7, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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People familiar with the area said the trees likely were planted nearly 50 years ago when the space north of Court Street was converted into a pedestrian mall.

Deputy Mayor Megan Heiman in an emailed statement wrote: "The trees in Commercial Alley had outgrown the space and were causing damage to the adjacent buildings, so they needed to be removed."

Tree removal operations in Commercial Alley on June 8, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Tree removal operations in Commercial Alley on June 8, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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It remains to be seen what will happen with the area where the trees stood for decades.

Heiman wrote: "Long term, that’s a prime space for reimagining what could be with the help of a landscape architect (new lighting, amenities, etc.)."

A tree stump in Commercial Alley on June 22, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
A tree stump in Commercial Alley on June 22, 2022. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Andy Daniel, general manager of Saké-Tumi restaurant next to Commercial Alley, expressed some disappointment that the trees had been removed. He said it was nice for employees to have a shaded area during their breaks.

Daniel said he hopes any plans to redesign the space will include steps to restore some shaded area and to improve lighting at night to enhance security.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.