5th & Towne

oasis in Skid Row needs some TLC

Anyone want to help me spruce up 5th St.  & Towne Ave.?

I have to admit, I don’t walk much down this stretch, mostly because there is nowhere I need to get to that passes through here.  I do however, drive down this street all the time. 5th St. is the street in Skid Row with the most trees, which makes it the most pleasant to walk on or drive by – most are London Plane trees I think.

There is this small patch @ 5th & Towne that has what can only be described as “ghost trees”. This is my made up term for the empty tree guards that are just sitting there stuck in concrete. The ghost trees sit next to trees that have long ago outgrown their tree guards. The trees are literally choking. I must figure out a way to set them free!

the trees have outgrown their guards

When taking these pictures, I stood for a while under these trees and I must say it felt nice and cool to be there under their shade. Some other folks were also enjoying this stretch of 5th near the trees. it’s a mini oasis amongst the relentless concrete that just needs a little TLC

A man from an SRO across the street came up to me and asked me if was going to be giving anything away for free.  I said no.  Living close by, I often see individuals and organizations come here on the weekends, park under these trees, then proceed to pass out free clothing and food to the homeless folks. Sometimes the food is in Styrofoam containers. There are no trash bins nearby incidentally.

I have very mixed feelings about this. I believe the people who come down here to give things away for free have the best of intentions; however I don’t think many of them realize that the trash that gets left behind once they drive away is ruinous to my neighborhood. Also, for those that don’t know-nobody goes hungry in Skid Row. Thousands of meals are served for free everyday here. From all that I have read and seen personally, I think a better option would be to work WITH the already established organizations that are down here and donate directly to them. Most of the Missions and shelters have programs that wholeheartedly encourage outside groups to participate in food preparation and service. Many also have organized systems to distribute donated clothing. The LAPD has stated that the free for alls can lead to mayhem and even violence.

Anyways, back to the ghost trees and choking trees here. What I would like to do is liberate these empty tree guards from the concrete they are set in, then remove the guards around the trees that don’t need them anymore. This will take tools that can break up concrete-or probably a professional concrete cutter. I would like to save the tree guards, clean and repaint them and then store them. They could be most valuable in protecting other new saplings yet to be planted in Skid Row. I have priced these things and they start at around $400 new.

With the concrete broken up, I think these trees could use some care, basic pruning, mulching and possibly some other greenery around them. And, as always if more things are planted, this means more things will need watering. Perhaps some drought tolerant shrub like things down below?

north side of 5th & Towne

I would love to help manage and assist with this project, as well as help to maintain it. Any suggestions, help or design ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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