Town Council is touting new arbor program

LA CRESCENTA — The Crescenta Valley Town Council on Thursday adopted a program that invites residents to purchase trees to be planted along Foothill Boulevard and to maintain them.

The program is similar to previous council-sponsored adopt-a-tree efforts in that it asks residents to maintain one or a few trees along the boulevard, water them during the driest summer months and weed the sidewalk tree wells.

But this time around, members of the council are hoping residents — instead of the county — will pay $200 apiece for the trees.

The county purchased and planted 55 London Plane trees along the boulevard in 2005, but only about 30 of the young trees have survived, said Richard Toyon, who serves on the Foothill Design Committee, a council sub-committee.

The council has been looking to replace the some 25 trees that were either damaged, vandalized or for other reasons did not take root.

But there are currently no county funds budgeted for trees in unincorporated La Crescenta, council Mayor Grace Andrus said.

So instead of waiting for county funds, the council opted to take a new tack in asking residents and businesses to purchase trees directly, Andrus said. County representatives have welcomed the plan and agreed to plant the trees once they’re purchased, she said.

“We realized the county is spending a lot of money in our community — we’re looking for a dog park, we’re getting a library, we just got the pocket park — and we realize that the county only has X amount of dollars and that has to spread through other areas,” she said.

Funding the program locally will, at least for now, save county resources for bigger community needs, she said.

Residents or businesses that purchase a tree would also get a brass plaque inlaid in or near the tree well, which they could dedicate according to their wishes, she said.

Currently, the boulevard is home to between 150 and 180 trees, including Crape Myrtles and London Planes, said Councilman Curtis Cleven.

But when the council purchases new trees, it won’t likely select anymore Crape Myrtles: A new set of design guidelines proposed for Foothill Boulevard does not include the 12-foot to 18-foot trees among its recommended varieties for the area.

The guidelines, as listed in the proposed Community Standards District, call for Chinese Flame Trees, Canary Island Pines, London Planes, California Sycamores, California Oaks and Zelkovas.

Crape Myrtles, known for their long-lasting pink or white flowers, were tossed out by the Foothill Design Committee — the group that has crafted the proposed Community Standards District — mostly because the trees grow to a height that competes with business signs, Toyon said.

After the empty tree wells are filled, damaged or diseased trees will be replaced and then the council could move to replace the Crape Myrtles, Andrus said.

For more information about adopting a tree for maintenance, which has no cost, or purchasing a new tree, you may visit www.crescentavalleytown or via phone, contact (818) 248-9387.

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