Cul­tural arts district tree-plant­ing avail­able

Ben­e­fits in­clude traf­fic calm­ing, ur­ban cool­ing

Times Standard (Eureka) - - FRONT PAGE - By So­nia Waraich swaraich@times-stan­dard.com

Own­ers who live in the cul­tural arts district are able to have a tree planted out­side their prop­erty for $75in the new pro­gram.

Prop­erty own­ers in Eu­reka’s cul­tural arts district can get a tree in­stalled in front of their build­ing for $75 start­ing this spring.

The prop­erty owner can choose a tree from a list of dozens and have vol­un­teers plant it for them. They would only be ex­pected to cover $75 of the $100 fee for the city to cut a hole in the side­walk for the tree, ac­cord­ing to the Cul­tural Arts District Street Tree Master Plan that was pre­sented to the Eu­reka City Coun­cil on Tues­day.

“There are about 200 ad­dresses where there is room for about 250 trees,” said Michele McKee­gan, of vol­un­teer group Keep Eu­reka Beau­ti­ful, which plants trees in the city. “The spots do meet the city re­quire­ments for set­backs … but they may not work in terms of un­der­ground lines.”

Some own­ers may also not want a tree in front of their build­ing for other rea­sons, such as not want­ing to clean up leaves, so McKee­gan said it would ul­ti­mately be much fewer than 200 trees.

Prop­erty own­ers would be ex­pected to main­tain the trees by wa­ter­ing them ev­ery spring and Keep Eu­reka Beau­ti­ful would send out post­cards around that time to let them know to do so.

The goal is to plant or re­place 50 trees in the district be­tween fall 2020 and spring 2021 fol­lowed by an­other 50 trees be­tween fall 2022 and spring 2023, said Swan As­bury, an as­so­ciate plan­ner with the city’s Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Depart­ment.

The only real hic­cup in the street tree master plan is a long­stand­ing dis­pute be­tween Cal­trans and the city about whose re­spon­si­bil­ity it is to main­tain var­i­ous as­pects of Broad­way, in­clud­ing tree main­te­nance.

That dis­pute has lasted for more than a decade, but Pub­lic Works and Build­ing Di­rec­tor Brian Gerv­ing said the two en­ti­ties have made a lot of head­way re­cently and have been work­ing on a draft agree­ment that he ex­pects to be fi­nal­ized within roughly six months.

“We were mak­ing re­ally good progress over the course of this year,” Gerv­ing said, but the Oc­to­ber meet­ings had to be can­celed be­cause of the Pa­cific Gas & Electric pub­lic safety power shut­offs, and Novem­ber and De­cem­ber are

tricky be­cause peo­ple tend to go on va­ca­tion.

Gerv­ing said it’s taken a long time be­cause Cal­trans and the city have been work­ing through not just who’s re­spon­si­ble for tree main­te­nance, but also side­walks, pay­ing for elec­tric­ity for traf­fic sig­nals, and paint­ing cross­walks on Broad­way and the streets ad­ja­cent to it.

In or­der to plant trees, the prop­erty own­ers would have to ap­ply for an en­croach­ment per­mit from Cal­trans in or­der to do that, so the city is work­ing with Cal­trans on a stand­ing batch en­croach­ment per­mit that needs to be de­vel­oped from scratch.

The va­ri­eties of trees that could be planted on Broad­way would be much more lim­ited, how­ever, be­cause they would need to be on both the city and Cal­trans’ list of ac­cept­able street trees.

“It will be a rel­a­tively small num­ber of species — less than 10 — that are avail­able,” Gerv­ing said, “but still a pretty good va­ri­ety and things that are also rel­a­tively pop­u­lar.”

City of­fi­cials and coun­cilmem­bers noted a va­ri­ety of ben­e­fits to plant­ing trees, in­clud­ing ur­ban cool­ing, traf­fic calm­ing and com­bat­ing cli­mate change.

As­bury also noted there are eco­nomic ben­e­fits to plant­ing trees in busi­ness dis­tricts, in­clud­ing the fact that shop­pers spend more time and money in ar­eas with more trees.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit keepeurek­abeau­ti­ful.com.

COUR­TESY OF THE CITY OF EU­REKA

Prop­erty own­ers in Eu­reka’s cul­tural arts district, the bounds of which are il­lus­trated on this map, can get a tree planted in front of their prop­er­ties for $75by vol­un­teer group Keep Eu­reka Beau­ti­ful.

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