Much to the satisfaction of many Cerritos residents, a large-scale citywide tree trimming and tree replacement project was recently completed.
The $499,935 project -- awarded to West Coast Arborists after a motion presented by Councilman Mark Pulido during the Feb. 27, 2012 council meeting passed unanimously -- encompassed the trimming of 4,529 residential trees and removal and replacement of 45 parkway median trees, according to the city. ( in the image carousel to view a diagram of the areas where the project took place.)
A grant reimbursement from the Los Angeles County Parks and Open Space District funded this 4-month long project.
The city said West Coast Arborists employed special trimming techniques, established by the International Society of Arboriculture, to promote tree health and stability.
For some residents, the tree trimming was a complete but welcomed surprise.
"I'm so thankful they finally trimmed our trees," said longtime Cerritos resident, Angie P. "I started losing faith that they'd ever get around to it. The trees became so overgrown in front of my home, it was blocking the streetlight, making our street so dim at night. It had become a safety concern for me and my kids."
Councilman Pulido: It's About "Getting Back to the Basics"
The issue of overgrown trees had become such a prevalent concern for residents throughout the city, it became a platform for Councilman Pulido during his campaign for city council last year.
"During the campaign, I often spent 20 to 30 minutes conversing with residents who were very concerned about the city tree in front of their homes that hadn't been trimmed in many years. And often times, that was a segue into a conversation about how the mature trees somehow compromised the sidewalk or the curbs and sometimes the driveway or even the house plumbing," Pulido said.
The complaints became so commonplace, Pulido said he made the "tree problem" a top priority once elected to the council.
"For me it was important to help bring the focus back on the basics of reinvesting in city resources in our neighborhoods ... where our residents live, where we are raising our families," he said. "While trees throughout the city help increase property values, help the environment, and beautify our community -- with it comes responsibility."
However, Pulido believes that tough economic times played a role in the delay of proper tree maintenance.
"In these tough times, two or three years ago when tree trimming was seen as less of a priority, we are now seeing the unintended consequences of delaying regular trimming of city trees. And, in a city where we have 30,000 trees, while I am pleased that we were able to trim 4,500+ there is still so much more work to do," Pulido admitted.
City Trees Not Always a Problem to Be 'Stumped' By
However, the abundance of city trees is not always perceived as a burden.
Cerritos was recently named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation, the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service for the 14th year in a row. This recognition is given only to select cities throughout the country for their outstanding community forestry programs and commitment to their urban forest.
According to the city, nearly every home has a city tree planted in its parkway, and approximately 250 young trees are planted each year to replace those that are damaged by storms, age or accidents.
And with the completion of the recent tree project, which received unanimous support from the other council members, Pulido believes the entire council fully understands how important this issue is to city residents.
"I'm hopeful that the direction the city is taking now will help meet the expectations that residents have for the quality of life in our neighborhoods," he said. "In these tough economic times it is wise and prudent for us to focus on getting back to the basics, getting it done right and being fully responsive to the residents of Cerritos."
Who Do I Contact If I Have a Tree Problem or Concern?
Residents or business owners who continue to have ongoing issues or concerns about city trees near their property are asked to visit the Public Work's section on the city's website to fill out a tree trimming request form, or call the Public Works Department directly at (562) 916-1220.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS SECTION
WERE THE TREES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD TRIMMED RECENTLY? DOES THE COMPLETED PROJECT SATISFY YOUR CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF OVERGROWN TREES IN CERRITOS?
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