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Memorial Tree Dedicated To 9/11 Victim Mistakenly Cut Down In New Jersey

HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Maintenance work mistakenly destroyed a memorial tree dedicated to a September 11th victim from Bergen County.

Now, the community wants to know how this could have happened.

Harrington Park has been getting a few upgrades, but in the process, 10 trees got the ax by accident, CBS2's Meg Baker reported.

"There needs to be some sort of accountability for when work is being done," resident and parent Ian Lainof said.

Ten huge stumps were left at Harrington Park School off Harriet Avenue. One was planted as a memorial to 9/11 victim Andrew O'Grady, who went to school there.

"If there is something as special as a 9/11 memorial, that means a lot to a lot of people in this area, and to not have respect for that is a disservice to the town," Lainof continued.

Rockland Electric said it took the trees down, but only because the school's groundskeeper told the crew to chop away. A spokesperson said the memorial plaque was not visible.

The company has been replacing overhead wires and trimming trees away from utility poles.

"Questionable as to how it all occurred," Harrington Park Mayor Paul Hoelscher said.

Poor communication might have had something to do with it, Baker reported.

"You can see some of them are very mature trees. One or two of them had to be cut down because of the root systems and I think one also was diseased," he said.

The mayor told CBS2 the neighbors liked the trees because they acted as a buffer to the school. He said the foliage will be replaced.

"Working to improve control here with a fence, and shrubs and trees," he said.

The superintendent apologized and said a new plaque for O'Grady will be delivered in a few weeks and a tree will be rededicated.

The school also wanted to make clear the trees were not taken down as part of its repaving project.

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