Apr 23 2017

Street Trees, Hampton Park, Winter Storm Impacts to Trees and Creeks

Who decides if a street tree should be planted?  Residents or the Commission?

    On April 5th, 2017, the Parks Commission came together for their monthly meeting for the main reasons of nominating a Vice Chairman, talk about the opening of Hampton Field, the Arbor Day Celebration on April 6th, and how the planting of new trees with public works.

    Following the relatively short nomination period, the focus was shifted to the opening of Hampton Field.  Hampton Field was recently renovated turning the field from a grass field to a turf field.  All concurred that the opening ceremony went extremely well and was a huge success.  They also think that it will be an opportunity ripe for donations as families whose kids have played at Hampton Park will want to donate to have their names on benches and such.

    After the success of changing Hampton Field into a turf field, the Park Commission then said they would turn their attention to Coaches Field, another grass field in Piedmont, and evaluate it for a possible grass to turf transition.  Betsy Goodman then asked about the life span of the turf field, as this was a concern voiced by members of the public.  The lifespan of a cork and sand turf field was about 10 years but could also be replenished, a huge reason why this type of turf field was chosen.

    One concern voiced by a commissioner was about the poor condition of trees at the basketball courts near the back of Hampton Park following a rough winter.   A member of the Public Works Department was present at the meeting and said that public works was planning on taking the trees out.

    The next topic on the agenda was the Arbor Day Celebration planned for the following day. Arbor Day is a national celebration of trees.  Though set up was coming along very well, there were concerns about the weather and if it would rain or not.  A citizen attending the meeting just said to make it clear where it would be held inside if there was rain and where outside, weather permitting.

      Then, the public works member, Dave Frankel, started the Park Commission’s report which consisted of how public works has been combating one of the wettest winters in years and how their reforesting projects are going.  Frankel said  85 cubic yards of debris has been cleared from the creeks in Piedmont.  Public works has also been reforesting the streets of Wyngaard, Inverleith, and Lexford, to name a few.  Public works were also looking at trying to plant new types of trees, like Chinese pistachio trees instead of the lateral outgrowth of Cherry trees.

     It was at this point I wondered why there aren’t any trees on my street. So I went up and asked about the process for choosing which streets to plant trees on.  Was it citizen requested or a Commission decision? Frankel responded by saying that the streets used to be chosen by the Commission, but the residents on many street didn’t take care of the trees so they changed the process to citizen requested.

    After the meeting, I stopped Commissioner James Horner. He came to the meeting to talk about the street tree plantings and the upcoming Arbor Day Celebration.  He learned that public works was changing the species of trees that they were planting to Krauter Vesuvius.  When I asked him about his reaction to this meeting, he stated matter-a-factly, “How short it was”.

by Nick Loduca, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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