By Mary O’KEEFE
Community members have noticed fewer trees at two local schools.
Clark Magnet High School and Rosemont Middle School have had some trees cut down on their campuses to accommodate the new solar panels that will be installed this summer, and some trees were taken out due to disease and wind damage.
Concerned residents contacted the CVW after they went to the soccer field at Clark and discovered many of the trees had been chopped down.
“They were cut down in support of the solar project and concerns from the storm damage,” said Alan Reising, Glendale Unified School District director Facility and Support Operations.
Reising added that several of the trees were damaged after the December windstorm.
“Immediately after the storm, we noticed one of the trees had split down the middle and we removed it,” he said.
The trees at Clark that were taken down ran alongside the dirt embankment. Reising said the erosion of the area had affected the trees’ health.
The trees were on the north end of the soccer field, planted on a sloped area.
“The trees were cracked,” said Clark Principal Doug Dall. “The palm trees that were taken out were growing between the cracks of the cement.”
Dall took photos of the damaged trees before they were removed. One of the tree trunks was sliced up the center. The roots of several of the trees were peeking through the dirt.
He pointed out how the roots were moving to the surface.
“These weren’t trees that were planted, they were just travelers that landed here and were never maintained,” Dall said.
The money to clear the trees and to place the solar panels will come from Measure S funding. The solar panels will line along the area where the trees once stood. They will not be able to supply shade due to state regulations on solar panels and compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards.
At Rosemont, the trees at the top of the amphitheater were taken out. Principal Cynthia Livingston said the trees were healthy, however their roots were beginning to crack the surrounding cement. There will be solar panels installed along the top of the amphitheater that will provide shade.
Livingston said the students did have some difficulty getting used to the trees being cut down. They were used to seeing them, and then came back after spring break to find they were gone.
There were two eucalyptus trees that had to be removed due to disease. Livingston, a long time La Crescenta resident, said she understands the community’s concern about protecting trees.
“We like our trees,” she said. “The [district] has said they are replacing our trees.”
The trees will not be placed in the areas where the others were cut down but will be placed in other areas.
There had been a rumor that the trees in front of the school were to be cut down, but Livingston said she has been assured no more trees will be taken down to make room for solar panels, however there are a few trees that are unhealthy that the district is watching.
There had been meetings with the staff at Clark and Rosemont concerning preparations for solar power. At Rosemont meetings included staff and PTA members. The solar panel construction will begin during summer break.