Monday, May 9, 2011

A Deep Rooted Controversy in the Old Pueblo

Here's a story today about an old Ironwood and Tucsonans from KGUN 9 News by Craig Smith.

"A beautiful old tree is adding some deep rooted controversy to a major road project.
The majestic old ironwood is in the way of the widening project of Kolb and Golf Links. The City of Tucson says the old tree has to fall to progress. By some estimates this tree is about 75 years old so Model A Fords were rolling by when it was a seedling. But modern traffic calls for a wider intersection there and that means the axe will fall for the tree. Big beautiful trees are so rare in the desert it can hurt to lose even one. The old ironwood is in sight of Joe's Pancake House where they do not take kindly to the news it'll be coming down to make way for a wider intersection. Waitress Stacey Skarison says, "All the customers that come here, they live around here and they're all very upset about it, they want to try to save it, so...Restaurant co-owner Jacqueline Abi-Ad says, "Consider those people, they walk every day and catch the bus and that tree has been giving them shade for 75 years. As the economy is now tough a lot of people use the buses." Restaurant patron Ellena Kremer says, "I am very active and vocal when it comes to things that don't follow what we like. If you don't say anything and you're just ignoring it well, what happens, nobody pays attention and they just say, well somebody else will do it." Well, we're paying attention, so we asked the project director why can't he salvage the tree? Fred Felix says the qualities that make people love the old tree---its size, its age mean a transplant attempt would require about $25,000 and far too much time. Felix says, "They would have to try to lift it out with a crane. There are existing overhead power lines, also some communication lines overhead which would make it difficult for a crane to even get in there. There's also some underground fiber optic lines which are very close to the root system. If they were to try to remove that tree without getting all the roots it could damage those fiber optic lines." Felix says to try a move they'd have to dig around the roots, build a box around them, then wait about three months for the tree to adjust before actually trying a move. And even then, chance of survival would be about fifty-fifty. The city says it does not get any special privilege under environmental regulation. It meets the same standards a private contractor must meet. In this case the city says it is salvaging a lot of other plants, and will plant new trees to try to compensate for the loss of this one but it will take a lot of years for those trees to grow into something like the old ironwood."  End of article.


  1. oh dear I hate this...where do I send my money to save this tree? 50/50 isn't good
    but it beats death for ceratin by cut down
    this is horrible
    Here they take down old build homes in subdivisions called Deep Woods, Hidden Woods, Abbey 2 years the trees they "spared" all die
    I cried the day a cemetary took down this gigantic Burr Oak to build a mausoleun

  2. A shame; what a beautiful, sturdy tree with many years ahead of it.

    One has to wonder, if this gets some press, if a wealthy Tusconan into the environment might foot the bill to salvage it? A designer I know presented her concept for an underfunded garden at a SW university, and a woman stepped up and wrote a check for $250K.

  3. At least in this country we can make a road bending or curve to give way to the old trees, sometimes the opposing traffic curves to an elongated island to let the tree live. It just gives way to a bigger area of elongated island and the adjoining area can be planted with ornamentas. It works and save much precious trees.


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