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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : LOS ALAMITOS

Arbor Day Event Marked by Planting of Sycamore

May 05, 2000|CHRIS CEBALLOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A sycamore was planted last week in Cottonwood Park, the highlight of the inaugural Arbor Day celebration in Los Alamitos.

Along with city officials, members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Parkway Tree Program took part in the event to commemorate Los Alamitos being named a Tree City USA--an honor bestowed on tree-friendly communities.

The designation, granted by the National Arbor Day Foundation, was a first for the city and a priority of the Parkway program.

The program's main goal is the planting of 1,100 trees in Los Alamitos by 2006. Already, 200 trees have been planted in its first year, purchased through donations from local businesses.

"It is only fitting that the Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce, a donor themselves, represent the local businesses in helping the city celebrate its first Arbor Day," said Tom Kneeshaw, chairman of the Parkway program. "We are very appreciative of the help we are getting from local businesses."

A private consultant, Michael Mahoney, created a computerized grid of the city that identified all of the existing trees and plans for new ones that would best complement them.

Each street will eventually receive about four new trees, two evergreens and two deciduous. The new trees, planted in 15-gallon containers, cost about $50 each.

"We've had a real positive response from the residents," said Dave Cox, superintendent of public service for the city. "We've been receiving thank-you letters from people saying, 'Boy, this is a real benefit for the neighborhood.' And the biggest issue is it increases property value."

Los Alamitos has about 900 publicly maintained trees. The city has an annual budget of $56,000 for tree trimming and other maintenance, Cox said.

Mahoney's grid is also used for the city's seven-year sidewalk, curb and gutter replacement program, which has a $114,000 annual budget consisting of grant money and city general funds.

Cox said trees are evenly distributed and will vary throughout the city. The city will begin an education program to teach schoolchildren about the importance of trees and expects a bigger Arbor Day celebration next year, he said.

Chris Ceballos can be reached at (714) 966-7440.

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