Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park

October 16, 2012
Below is an open letter to the City Council from Emeryville resident Eric Gascoyne. The Council is expected to vote on the tree cutting and other Temescal Creek redesign plans at its regular meeting Tuesday (tonight). The meeting starts at 7:15 pm.

Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council Members,
I am writing to you in regards of your important upcoming decision you will be making for the removal of 3 very large Eucalyptus trees at Temescal Creek Park .  The following are a few points that I would like you to consider when you make you decide to remove or let these trees remain at our park:
These Eucalyptus Trees
a.)  Are the longtime homes to mating Red Tailed Hawks.  These birds are beautiful and awe inspiring.  There are no guarantees if they are removed that they will make Emeryville their home in the future.
b.)  The trees themselves are magnificent.  They are some of the tallest trees in Emeryville.  In my opinion, the City has done a great job in maintaining these trees and the pruning of them looks good.  I don’t think the number you have been given of $25,000.00 of a one time pruning is accurate.  At the most, the City should spend $2,000.00  a year to safely maintain all the Eucalyptus trees in the park.
c.)  How much does the City intend to spend removing these trees?
d.)  Theses trees are also a winter supply of pollen and nectar for honey bees as they bloom in December.  These bees are very beneficial to our lives in so many ways.  There are also countless numbers of other birds that use these trees to survive.
The Toddler Park and Playground
a.)  Should be moved to the East of the center concrete circle.  The concrete center should also remain as a gathering area central to the park as it is already utilized by many.
b.)  Any of the usable play equipment from the old park should be reused at the new play area.
The Dog Run/ Off Leash Area
a.)  Should be directly under the Eucalyptus Grove and span the entire length of the pathway to the West.
b.)  A simple 3-4 foot fence to enclose the area would be sufficient.
c.)  Eucalyptus trees are a natural Flea and Tick repellant making an ideal species for a dog run.  Any pruning debris can be mulched for the dog run.  Dog runs like this do not require much maintenance.
The Architect
a.)  I attended the park meeting last year with the architect and a few people from the City.  There was no mention of any cost of this project.  $65,000.00 for the architect and $650,000.00 for the construction.  Personally, I’m shocked at this level of waste in our government.  This is not designing a new park, this is a remodel, that does not even require a permit or design review.  The entire project could have been undertaken by our Public Works Director easily.
b.)  Any change that you consider to this project should not cost the City another $12,800.00 as the architect plans to charge us.  Make the architect be under budget as there are plenty of Emeryville Architects that will gladly take their place at a much more reasonable compensation.
I hope that you will consider some of my ideas.  I believe the City would save a lot of money by expanding the dog run and relocating the playground to a more suitable area and most of all, in our progress and attempts to better our lives, do not destroy our old trees and wildlife habitat that Emeryville citizens are already deprived of.
Eric Gascoyne
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3 Responses to Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park

  1. Francis on May 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for writing this letter. I went to the city council meeting and spoke on behalf of the trees and the hawks. I’m glad we have saved them for now. Unfortunately in my opinion the park project has made a park with lots of potential into an ugly “inner city” looking park. They paved over the entire grassy area, giving ample room for vandals to break glass, urinate, and tag on the abundant hard surfaces. If you urinate on grass or on a tree, nature will deal with it, this is not the case for man made materials. Will Emeryville parents really want their kids to ride trikes through busted glass and human urine, passing by swear words tagged all over the play structures? Do you remember who actually hung out on the former play structures? Usually they were not children. This combined with Emeryville taking over the Oakland school on Adeline and 53rd, sending waves of high schoolers up 53rd littering, loitering, selling drugs and even trying to steal my cell phone, has made my neighborhood seem much worse. Now instead of a park I live next to an inner city playground and a dog run. Remember when groups of people got together to host events, concerts and picnics in the park? Do you remember people doing Tai Chi, Karate, Parcor, training dogs, and strumming guitars, all integrated as a community in one common area? Now the space has been de-integrated, and de-greened. Not a very progressive project and obviously designed by people who do not understand or care about the area.

  2. Trisha on May 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Emeryville’s expansion into Oakland made some significant changes. None, so far, for the better.

    A lovely, vibrant mixed-use park has been destroyed to create a paved over, padded romper room that leaves only narrow patch of open green space. After all the local communities issues with their plan, they did some trimming of trees they initially intended to completely remove (out of safety concerns for all the children they expect to come to the park). But didn’t change modify plans to move or reduce the amount of paved play structure area. I fully expect that once the first branch falls, they’ll swoop back in and remove the trees anyway. This is how Emeryville rolls. Thanking the community profusely for taking an interest, while expecting to do exactly what they initially intended in the first place. Removing those trees will remove wildlife habitat. The hawks that have been living and breeding there for years will be a casualty. But there be a play area that no one but vandals and high school kids will use.

    Emeryville’s idea of city planning has a decidedly suburban feel and is typically undertaken by HUGE spend in the initial phases It’s as if they’ve discovered a very efficient formula – spend a ton of money before it’s even approved, and then everyone on the planning committee and city council feels somehow obligated to make whatever non-essential pet project happen to justify spend. Amateur and provincial – not the urban leaders they aspire to be. Temescal Creek Park and a planned Skate Park between the shopping center and Pixar are just two examples. Who puts a skate park in a parking lot? And WHY? Aren’t there other things that money should be spent on? Ridiculous.

    What they’ve done on the Oakland edge is out of step with the neighborhood and wrong-minded. I used to think Emervyille progressive. I no longer do.

  3. Debra Johnson on May 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    There has been contined efforts on behalf of Emeryville residents to add MORE trees, not less by cutting them down. It seems that the amount of hardscapes being used is likely due to low cost and maintenance over landscapes. I wonder. City Planning needs to adopt a green ratio PLAN that includes planting a certain number of trees and softscape for every sq foot of new or reuse construction they budget!
    Emeryville is progressive, but I have always found it lacks integrity on it’s vision of what it wants to be when it grows up . More trees, more soft scapes to gather. We are a Green city by certification standards. City Planning – show us more GREEN.
    Emeryville resident for 12 years

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