The City Council on Tuesday voted to remove two Camphor trees that Burbank Unified officials say are causing a mess on the new Memorial Field at John Burroughs High School.
The decision is compromise with school officials who had pressed to remove all six of the trees on Keystone Street, which they said were already causing maintenance issues due to the debris that fall from branches.
Residents who live near the row of trees had opposed their removal.
The grand opening for the $12.2-million Memorial Field revamp is scheduled for Feb. 25.
“I don’t make the decision lightly,” Mayor Jess Talamantes said. “We spent $12 million on what I consider a jewel of the city. I want to maintain it as a jewel.”
Burbank Unified officials have said the berries and other debris from the trees along Keystone could stain and damage the new track.
There were also concerns that the debris could impact construction and warranty agreements. Striping of the track was scheduled this week.
School board members were also concerned about the added maintenance costs at a time of furloughs and budget cuts.
Last summer, the council voted to keep the trees, prune them and install a root barrier to ensure the roots wouldn’t reach the track and damage it from below ground.
But on Tuesday, council members voted to remove two trees and replace them at a 10-to-1 ratio along city parkways, following up on a pledge by Burbank Unified officials to plant 10 trees for every one that was removed.
The council also approved more aggressive pruning for the remainder of the trees on Keystone.
The joint-use Memorial Field project was funded by Burbank Unified, the city and donations from local businesses and residents.
“We’re always happy with their effort to provide as best a compromise as they can,” Burbank Unified Supt. Stan Carrizosa said in an interview. “It’s no small feat that they reconsidered an issue they took action on at a previous meeting and took exception to something that’s their standard policy — they don’t normally remove trees.”
-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News
Photo: The Burroughs High School Memorial Field track is nearly complete on Friday, January 20, 2012. Credit: Raul Roa/Staff photographer