We had a very productive town hall meeting on Jan. 23. Further details are to be found in our newsletter, but here are some of the highlights.
Vince Mikulanis spoke on urban forestry in the Allied Gardens-Grantville communities. He is employed by a private tree service, and works to keep trees out of the power lines. He also works with the Community Forestry Advisory Board and San Diego Regional Urban Forests Council. Vince has been a big help to the Allied Gardens-Grantville Community Council (AGGCC) Beautification committee to have trees planted in our community. There are about 40 residents who agreed to plant trees on their property.
Mikulanis provided an informative tutorial about the importance of trees, their care and value to the community. Trees provide shade, reduce need for air conditioning up to 50 percent, and can reduce the “heat island effect” by 10 degrees. Trees make streets safer and more walkable, they promote learning and healing. Students are better able to focus around greenery, and studies show patients require less medication.
Trees block unsightly structures and noise, and combat climate change. Trees can absorb CO2, odors, and pollutants. They stabilize the soil, reduce storm water runoff, and provide food and shelter for animals.
Trees increase property values from 10 to 20 percent. Businesses also benefit. It has been shown that people spend more money in tree lined business neighborhoods.
What does it take to manage trees? Taking care of trees is the responsibility of all residents. There is not a lot in the city budget to care and maintain trees. The priority is to preserve the large mature trees we have now, and plant more new trees. For all trees, we need to maintain health, watering, and pruning. The cost to keep a tree is considerably less costly than removing a tree. Maintaining a tree is about $10–20 a year for each tree. Removing a dead tree is expensive, from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
San Diegans can get a new tree, free of charge. All you have to do is identify a space in the public right-of-way that could benefit from a new tree and request a tree either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 619-527-7500. City horticulturists will evaluate the space and determine an appropriate tree selection. To get an application for “No Fee Street Tree” form, visit sandiego.gov/trees.
Kit Mickelson, of the Ascension Lutheran Church, is a member of the steering committee for the Allied Gardens Community Garden. Mickelson spoke about a community garden in Allied Gardens to build community support, share organic produce with the community, and help revive the health of bees without threat of pesticides.
Ascension Lutheran Church has donated 5,000 square feet for the Allied Gardens Community Garden. They have aligned with the Benjamin Library and the Mormon Church. The area will be fenced, and irrigated. The garden will be sectioned off with 10–12 raised planter boxes filled with new soil.
They want to start now. They are seeking donations from local businesses. The initial cost is estimated at $20,000. The organization is open to any kind of contributions. For more information, you can reach Mickelson at email@example.com or 619-269-1687.