Mayor directs staff to preserve trees during cleanup
EVERETT — Mayor Ray Stephanson has directed Everett parks staff to halt the planned removal of about 80 trees at American Legion Memorial Park.
“After a lot of careful consideration and heartfelt conversations with park neighbors, I’ve asked our staff to work with the Department of Ecology to preserve the Legion Park trees during the upcoming arsenic cleanup,” said Stephanson.
The trees had been identified for removal by parks staff as part of Ecology’s soil remediation project, which will begin this fall. Many of the trees in the park are in declining health or are nearing the end of their lifespan, and parks staff had planned to replace them with nearly 125 trees. Instead of removing the trees, crews working for Ecology will now clean the root systems of all trees by hand using manual digging and compressed air.
“We know there’s a risk that some of the weaker trees will not tolerate this process and may have to be removed in the future,” said Stephanson. “Our staff will monitor the trees closely during and after the work.”
The mayor has also asked staff to review and update the City’s tree policy, which provides guidelines for trees on public property within the city limits, including planting, preserving, removing and replacing. Park tree removal and replacement plans, including the plan for Legion Park, are reviewed by the City’s tree committee and Park Board of Commissioners.
“I commend our parks staff for their hard work, particularly our arborists and horticulturists who work so closely with these trees every day,” said Stephanson. “They care deeply about Legion Park and its future, and I appreciate their willingness to listen to the community’s concerns and develop a solution that attempts to preserve the trees.”
Legion Park and the Arboretum will close to the public in October, and cleanup will begin in November and continue through May 2015. Ecology is the lead agency on the Everett smelter clean-up work in northeast Everett and has been working with parks staff to finalize the park remediation plan. For more information on the project, visit www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/sites_brochure/asarco/parks/cleanup-info.html.