Mayor admits to mistakes after trees removed for Redskins

Posted at 12:46 PM, Jan 14, 2013
Rendering of the Leigh Street/Science Museum site for the new Washington Redskins training camp.

Rendering of the Leigh Street/Science Museum site for the new Washington Redskins training camp.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Richmond City Council president Charles Samuels said he was shocked when he drove past the site of the new Redskins training camp near the Science Museum of Virginia over the weekend and saw “every single tree on the property had been removed.”

The land is going to be developed for the Washington Redskins to hold their training camp this summer.

“This was not the intent of the City, nor was it the agreement I had made with the Administration regarding the development of this site,” Samuels said in an email.

Samuels said the agreement he made with the Mayor was that as many trees as possible would remain on the site and for every one tree removed, another tree would be planted elsewhere. He said that included trees that surround a portion of the vita course on the west side of the property. 

"While I do not believe the trees were torn down at the direction of the Administration, I am gravely concerned about the communication efforts that preceded the trees coming down, as clearly our agreement between the Administration and Richmond City Council was not honored or communicated to the construction workers," Samuels said.

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones said he was "taken aback" when he learned more trees than anticipated were removed.

"A mistake was made, and we need it to be rectified, and we need to prevent further problems,” he said. "We are reviewing the matter to determine what mistakes were made so that we can prevent further problems from occurring."

The mayor's office is working to determine just how many trees were removed. The mayor said he was committed to replacing each and every tree removed for this project.

"I have also directed that a new landscaping plan be developed and larger, more mature trees be used for the western area," he said.

The mayor said while he realizes everyone is working quickly to meet a June deadline to complete the project, he said the city needs to be mindful of commitments.

Earlier this month, archaeologists searched the land to make sure no burial grounds or Civil War artifacts will be covered up by the fields.