“Racist Trees” To Be Removed From Golf Course


 

A city-owned California golf course and the San Jacinto Mountains beyond it will finally be visible to residents near the 14th and 15th holes of Tahquitz Creek Golf Course in Palm Springs.

 

After nearly 60 years, the mayor of Palm Springs has ordered the removal of a row of tamarisks trees and a chain-link fence that has obstructed the view and lowered the property value of the residents adjacent to the golf course.

USA Today and The Desert Sun‘s Corinne S. Kennedy had the story

This California city will remove a row of trees blocking a historically African-American neighborhood from a city-owned golf course.

At an informal meeting with neighborhood residents Sunday, Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon, council member J.R. Roberts and other city officials promised residents they would remove the tamarisk trees and a chain link fence along the Crossley Tract property lines as soon as possible.

Many longtime residents of the neighborhood previously told The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun they believed the trees were planted for racist reasons in the 1960s, and remained a lasting remnant of the history of segregation in the city. Residents said the invasive tamarisks, which block views of the Tahquitz Creek Golf Course and San Jacinto mountains, have artificially depressed property values and prevented black families from accumulating wealth in their property over the past half-century.

Roberts apologized to the Crossley Tract residents for any wrongdoing by the city in the past and said he and the rest of the council wanted to make the necessary changes to ensure future generations didn’t have to deal with the same problems current and past residents faced.

“You asked why it took us this long,” Roberts told about 50 residents gathered for the meeting. “I can’t answer that. But guess what? We’re here now.”

 

Moon said Sunday he and Roberts had only a combined four years on the council and the problems posed by the trees only recently came to their attention. Moon said after he became aware of the issue, he visited the neighborhood to get a first-hand idea of what residents’ concerns were.

Both Moon and Roberts assured residents that the neighborhood had the support of the entire council.

“It’s a new city council and a new time,” Moon said.

City Manager David Ready said the tree removal wouldn’t be immediate as the full city council would have to approve the matter. Arborists also would have to be consulted and the project — like any requiring significant city funds — would have to be put out to bid, Ready said. But he estimated the trees could be down within three months.

Ready previously said estimates the city had received for removing the trees were about $169,000. Approval of expenditures more than $20,000 have to go to the city council for the thumbs up, and city officials also have to figure out where, in a city budget stretched thin by rising public safety costs and hundreds of millions of unfunded pension liabilities and retiree healthcare costs, that money will be allocated from.

 

[USAToday.com]

 

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