Bernalwood has received several shouts of alarm from Central Cortlandia, where neighbors report that the big shade tree in the playground behind the Bernal Heights Library was suddenly and summarily cut down.
Neighbor Melissa writes:
Sad news for the younger set: The Bernal library playgrouind tree has been taken down without comment. This was really the only source of shade on the playground, so many youngsters (including my own) loved this tree. No word from Rec and Park on the tree’s removal, and no word on what’s next for the hundreds of families that use this park. What gives?
Neighbor Kathryn adds:
The beloved library tree was taken out. Apparently, it was dying. People are really missing this tree.
I know a lot of trees are dying due to the extra rain after our long drought, but how do we know the tree was dangerous? Lots of things are dying, but they may still be around for years or even decades to come.
One thing that is baffling – there is no plan to replace the tree yet – or even a plan to remove the stub.
Apparently, SF Parks and Works doesn’t have access to a stump removal machine, which strikes me as very bizarre considering they remove trees often.
If it takes an act of God for homeowners to get approval to remove a tree – why can Parks and Recs just swoop in and cut down a tree? For homeowners, there is a long drawn out process for notifying the community. Most requests are denied – and if a home owner appeals, they must provide proof of why the tree is an endangerment. If any tree is removed, there must be an approved plan for replacing it BEFORE it is removed.
Why is this not the case for Parks and Rec?
Questions of arboreal equity aside, Bernalwood reached out to the San Francisco Rec and Park department to learn more about the situation.
Connie Chan from Rec and Park tells Bernalwood:
The tree was assessed as hazardous and deemed unsafe by the Department’s Urban Forestry crew. At this time, our crew is working to remove the remaining stump so that it would allow new tree planting in the area in the near future.
We definitely plan to plant a new tree, but in order for that to happen, we have to remove the stump so that it has the space to plant the tree.
Chan adds there is currently no timeframe or estimate when the tree in the Bernal library playground will be replaced.
PHOTOS: Top, Bernal library playground with no tree, by Neighbor Melissa. Below, tree stump by Neighbor Kathryn