A man speaking before the Escondido City council on August 17 expressed the concern of many residents of the “Old Escondido” section of town over the large number of trees that have been removed in order to repair sidewalks.
A resident, Tom Purl, told the council,
“There’s been some turmoil from some residents of old Escondido regarding the downing of so many historical trees guarding and shading historic homes in that area.”
He described how two trees in front of his home, “were gone in ten minutes.
Now my temperatures have gone up ten degrees and I’m cranking up the air conditioning using up natural resources.”
Purl said he realized that the city was doing “really good work” installing wheel chair ramps on the corner of the sidewalks, “But I’m thinking we could slow down a little bit and come up with a better plan to satisfy everybody and maintain the special environment that we have in old Escondido and we all enjoy. The trees have been going down to the tune of three to five a day. He asked for a future agenda item on the issue.”
Mayor Sam Abed responded that the removal of the trees wasn’t something that would normally be addressed on the agenda since it was an example of the department of public works carrying out city policy.
He said, “You are reasonable and I think the city has slowed down and I think the city manager is reaching out to the residents. We are not going to keep a tree that presents a risk to the residents and we are not going to take down any tree that don’t pose a risk to the residents.”
He said the city manager would be in touch with Purl and other residents to try to keep the tree taking to a minimum.
Most of the trees have been taken in the downtown area where many streets are named after trees, such as Juniper and Maple. The trees being removed from a ten-block area as part of a $3.3 million renovation project to spruce up damaged sidewalks and roads, many of which have been neglected for more than two decades.
The city identified about 80 trees for possible removal. Some were more than a century old. The city is responsible for the care of more than 50,000 trees that are on city streets.