Members of the Skid Row community, in partnership with DLANC and the LACC had planted 27 trees on Alameda St. between 4th and 7th, in 2009. Since the planting, the Committee who organized this project has dispersed, and the maintenance of these trees had fallen by the wayside. Planting trees is all well and good. Maintaining those trees can be a tricky endeavour in a big city, where there can be confusion over just who does the watering, pruning and basic care. As TreePeople staff say, “trees need people and people need trees”. This is especially true in an urban environment. Even big cities struggle with delegation of tree care amid populations and politicians who proudly proclaim their love of nature.
I think its safe to say that neighborhood beautification and trees were not a priority in Skid Row for the last several decades with few exceptions. Recent targeted crime prevention was the primary focus here, leaving little oxygen in the room for much else. That these Alameda St. trees got planted at all, is a testament to the stubbornness of this hope-filled community and their desire to create a more peaceful, healthy and green environment for themselves. It is the least that I can do, as someone who intends to plant more trees here, to make sure that the ones already planted get the care that they need to mature gracefully.
I want to personally thank Valerie Watson and General Jeff, two DLANC Board members, who helped get these trees refreshed and re-staked. It takes 5 years to establish a tree- I know that is a big commitment, but this is what it takes. These trees have a few more years left of watering to do, but I am confident that this can be achieved with sustained attention and community support.
I would also like to thank Meghan Shearer of the LA Conservation Corps for her thorough follow-through with all my questions. My research tells me that Jan Perry’s office was a major contributor to this tree planting from the outset-so a big thank you to her for supporting trees in Skid Row!
Last, but not least a HUGE thank you to the LACC’s four-man crew as headed by Crew Chief Thomas Walker, Cash, Shanae and Sullivan. General Jeff was most impressed with your hard work and professionalism (he is also the one who took the photos for this blog post).
“Hopefully, if LACC does in fact return to this site, we would most certainly feel comfortable with Mr. Walker and his crew. It is that very same passion that we tap into as we continue our community beautification efforts in Skid Row, as well as all of Downtown Los Angeles.”- General Jeff