Removal of H Street Trees Postponed, Info on Project

The City of Salida’s Public Works Department has postponed work on H Street for the removal of marked trees within the parkways on H Street from 3rd to 10th Street.  Several members of the City Council made the request to postpone removal until after their meeting on February 4th.  The work consists of removing 15 trees.

Due to the current flexibility in the Public Works Crew’s schedule and in order to not have to contract tree removal out to an outside source, tree removal was scheduled to begin next week. The City understands removing trees is a sensitive issue and it is not taken lightly.

The reconstruction of H Street is well over due and includes upgrading and replacing electric, cable, phone, gas, water and water mains. Replacing and upgrading utilities will begin in March. The budget for H Street is about $600,000 including the design and rebuild.

Originally, a design plan was initiated to create larger parkways by narrowing the street width. This plan was not well received by some members of the public and City Council. City Council directed staff to hold a public meeting on the H Street project January 9. At this meeting, the idea of bump-outs was discussed in order to keep the trees marked for removal.

After analysis by City staff, engineers and construction partners, it was determined the bump-out pattern would be irregular. Further, since the area’s arid climate does not allow for a significant amount of rainfall, the irrigation and maintenance of the vegetation in the bump-outs would need to either fall to the City or the homeowner. The City does not have the manpower to maintain the bump-outs and it would be onerous on the homeowner to maintain. An alternative to vegetation would be to place gravel in the bump out, which is not aesthetically pleasing.

The Salida Tree Board recommended that 5 of the trees be removed due to poor health of the trees.  Salida Tree Board President Marilyn Moore’s best guess is that the remaining 10 trees identified for removal have a life expectancy of 10-20 years maximum. The trees are being removed due to the heaving of the pavement and cracking curbs they are causing. The tenure of the newly constructed H Street will be 50 years.

At the January 21st City Council meeting, Council gave staff direction to pursue a design plan that is consistent with the look and width of current streets, like F Street. The project is currently being re-engineered and has yet to go to bid.

The first part of construction, undergrounding utilities, will begin in March.

The Tree Board is offering trees for adoption to homeowners that would like to replace the trees that will be removed through their Adopt a Tree program. Information on the program is available http://cityofsalida.com/boards-commissions/tree-board/adopt-a-tree-program/.

More information will be available as construction begins, including weekly press releases and direct communication with H Street homeowners. Please do not hesitate to call Public Works with questions at 539-6257.