Longtime Balboa Peninsula Point resident Cyndi Doran likes to walk up the street to Balboa Village for dinner with her husband many evenings, but the walk has never been the same since city workers replaced the old ficus trees that used to line the streets with small eucalyptus saplings.
“I thought, ‘These trees just aren’t thriving. What can we do about it?’” Doran said.
The streets of Balboa Village will soon be lined with Guadalupe palm trees that will eventually grow to form a canopy over local landmarks including the Balboa Pavilion, thanks to the work of Doran, local business owners and other residents who have donated $20,000 to the project.
City workers are scheduled to line Main Street in front of the Balboa Pavilion with the new trees after Labor Day weekend.
Residents from the Balboa Peninsula Point neighborhood and the Balboa Village Business Improvement District are sponsoring the project.
“It has been interesting to see everybody working together on this, making Balboa Village more appealing to residents as well as visitors,” said David Muller, president of the Balboa Village Business Improvement District.
Doran lobbied local business owners and civic leaders to donate money to the cause.
“We want our town to thrive and help merchants here,” she said. “I guess that’s it. This will give us a quaint Balboa look again that we’ve always had. Even if someone donates $20 or $30, every bit helps.”
The groups hope to raise an additional $86,000, or $1,500 a tree, to line Balboa Boulevard with the trees.
It caused an uproar when city workers took out the mature ficus trees that used to line the streets of the Balboa Village area four or five years ago. The tree roots were snaking into sewer lines and causing sidewalks in the area to buckle, making it a liability for the city.
The Guadalupe palms will replace rows of spindly eucalyptus trees that were put in to replace the ficus trees.
“When the ficus trees were removed, a lot of the character of Balboa Boulevard seemed to go with it, and the eucalyptus trees haven’t done as well as anyone had hoped,” Muller said.
The city of Newport Beach has agreed to put up matching funds to purchase 57 trees for the project. The entire project is estimated to cost $171,000.
“People take trees very seriously in Newport Beach,” said Councilman Mike Henn, who helped Peninsula Point residents with the tree project. “There’s so many problems, it’s just really nice to have something that’s really good going on.”
How To Help
Donations can be mailed to:
The Community Foundation of Balboa Peninsula Point
Attention CL Doran
PO Box 4322
Newport Beach, CA 92661
Make checks payable to:
The Community Foundation of Balboa Peninsula Point Buy a Tree Campaign