A group of community leaders met at the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce the afternoon of Aug. 22 to create a plan to save the trees on Main Avenue that county workers had attempted to remove that morning.
The four trees in question, on the east side of Main, just south of Hawthorne Street, were scheduled for removal because their roots are pushing up the sidewalk. While Save Our Forest president Jackie Heyneman was notified earlier that morning, it came as a surprise to her and everyone who heard about it.
Realtor Kim Murphy, whose office is across the street from the trees, saw what was going on when she was on her way to her yoga class. Concerned for the trees that provide shade to the nearby businesses and are an important part of Fallbrook’s natural beauty and character, Murphy told the workers to stop what they were doing and started making phone calls. The people she talked to also made phone calls.
One of those calls was to Supervisor Bill Horn and two more to his chief of staff, Darren Gretler. Realizing the importance of the trees to Fallbrook and its residents, Gretler immediately contacted the Department of Public Works. The outcome that morning was that DPW agreed to halt the tree removal and to work more with the community on their plans.
In the meantime, word spread about the plight of the trees which brought about the meeting at the chamber to discuss what needed to be done. While all agreed that the sidewalks do need fixing, the consensus was that because the trees are mature, and drought tolerant, they are worth saving.
Heyneman explained that a viable option to removing the trees would be having the roots trimmed and the sidewalks replaced, which would cost the same and take the same amount of effort. After that, if the trees are watered deeply once a month, she said, the roots will grow down and not cause any more problems.
Heyneman’s option will be presented to the county, along with options for other kinds of trees that could be planted to replace the four.
More volunteers are needed, however, to keep the trees watered and cared for. Chamber CEO Lila MacDonald said she would adopt those four trees and water them. Anyone who is willing to help can contact Heyneman at (760) 728-5395.
As for the reason why DPW was in Fallbrook that morning, Heyneman said that the county was out here about seven months ago to evaluate the condition of all the sidewalks in the area. There were also some complaints about the sidewalks and possible liability issues.
As of Aug. 22, Fallbrook Community Planning Group member Eileen Delaney was to set up a meeting with DPW staff to work out a reasonable solution to the problem and to facilitate communication between the county and the community.