Tree advocates contest replacement of Midtown trees

The City of Sacramento plans to replace 15 mature trees as part of its plan for the R Street corridor.

Like many Sacramento residents, Kristi Holst enjoys the city’s wealth of trees.

Living in Cameron Park and working in Midtown, Holst has ample opportunity to enjoy their beauty, shade and health-giving properties.

So when she learned that the city planned to replace 15 mature trees on the R Street Corridor near her workplace, she had concerns.

“I frequently walk to Sun & Soil, and I always walk with the trees,” she said,explaining she chooses her route by how well shaded it is. She said now that she’d heard of the plan she intended to learn more about it.

The plan to replace the trees is part of the city’s effort to beautify R Street and encourage business development on the corridor, Marycon Young, a city spokesperson, said. She added, some of the trees are diseased and others are too close to a parking garage.

However, Trees for Sacramento, a tree advocate group disputes those reasons, saying the trees are healthy, and pruning can address any obstruction to the parking garage.

The trees in question are 10 pine yews alongside a parking garage on the north side of R Street between 15th and 16th and five large elms in front of a warehouse on the north side of the street between 13th and 14th.

Young stressed that the city is replacing, not merely removing the trees and that 35 trees have been added to the corridor since improvements began there.

However, trees take many years to reach maturity so their loss will deprive the area of shade and the air quality improvement provided by mature trees for many years to come, said Jim Pachl, of Trees for Sacramento.

Protection of its tree canopy from this sort of arbitrary removal is part of the city’s general plan, Pachl said, citing sections of the plan’s urban forest policy that say projects should be modified whenever possible to avoid removal or damage to trees.

The policy also speaks of the promotion of 'shade trees with substantial canopies' to help 'minimize heat island effects.' 

"They have totally completely ignored that on this project," Pachl said. 

A public hearing will be held Tuesday during the regular city council meeting before the council votes on whether to proceed with the plans to remove the trees, or modify them.

© 2018 KXTV-TV


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