The recent holidays have come and gone, but the wonderful act by the city to replant 30 of the longstanding empty tree well sites will remain with us for many holiday seasons to come. We commend the city for taking this urgently needed action. We also want to commend the coordinated effort among city officials and passionate citizen arborists and arboreal appreciators who all worked in a consensual manner to move this long overdue action expeditiously forward by working together in selecting the most optimal tree species.
This replanting also reveals a distinctive and endearing feature of our small town regarding the value of citizen and city government engagement and cooperation, working together for a common good. While it is clear that being in public office always necessitates a sacrifice of personal time, fortunately, there are many citizens also willing to make such a sacrifice of time and contribute their expertise as professional arborists or simply tree appreciators to help monitor and expand our green canopy. All these parties worked together in creating the wonderful Christmas gift of 30 newly planted, largest possible trees.
Everyone is well aware that plentiful arboreal shade for our charming village streets ensures our health, energy savings, water conservation, and mitigation of air pollution, among other benefits. However, as City Manager John Pietig was most articulate in explaining recently in the Indy, “the safety of our citizens, their children and the City’s visitors is paramount.” Those of us who are passionately concerned about the extent of our arboreal cover for the enrichment benefits of our communal lives couldn’t agree more. And this raises an important issue.
Our unique city, surrounded as it is by belts of green and blue, is large enough to attract three to six million visitors a year, yet we understand it is too small to have a budget to maintain the health of the trees in order to keep everyone safe. While the Laguna Beach Urban Tree Fund has been created to provide extra funding to both maximize the size of the tree replanted and enhance watering management (which it just did), we are hopeful that in the coming year, budgeting can be re-allocated by the city to also provide for regular maintenance and appropriate pruning of trees.
We do joyfully celebrate our City Council, City Manager and Public Works for their wisdom in expediting the replanting of 30 of the forlorn empty tree wells and as we approach our second Arbor Day festivities this coming March, we encourage and look forward to ever more support from the community and our city management team in protecting and increasing the providers of the shade we hold so dear during our increasingly hot summers!
Barbara and Greg MacGillivray, Laguna Beach