“Friends” Present Treatment Plan for Landscape Rehabilitation of the Eastern Promenade to City Committee; Tree Types Spark Dissent

Nearby Resident Jim Austin Said the View Matters

Consultant Martha H. Lyon and president of Friends Diane Davison at Meeting By Carol McCracken (Post # l,086)

Back in 2007 it was about the trees on the Eastern Promenade. And so it turned out to be on Wednesday, February 15, when more detailed plans for the treatment plan of Ft. Allen Park were presented at a third workshop to the Historic Preservation Board. Friends of the Eastern Promenade was seeking feedback on changes to its plan that focuses on the historic period of 1890-1930 – the Proms Glory Days.

Back in 2007, the Friends of the Eastern Promenade was formed in opposition to the city’s elimination of a number of Elm Trees on the Promenade. While the non-profit did not save many trees, it did continue to monitor the Promenade until last October when it brought its major restoration plan before the Board – a major plan that could cost as much as a $1 million to implement before its completion.

A crowd packed a small conference room at city hall and was given a limited amount of time to weigh in on the plan as proposed. As happened in the October 26 meeting, the discussion focused on kinds of trees to be used on two paths to be rebuilt to duplicate the Glory Days of the Prom. At issue was whether to plant large shade trees that would obscure views of the harbor or whether to use more spindley and slow growing trees that would allow for ample viewing at this outdoor mecca on the Hill. City staff supports the consultant’s recommendation of Winter King Hawthorns because these trees stay small, are open and spreading in character providing visual interest year round, according a memo to the Committee from Deb Andrews, program manager.

Jim Austin, nearby resident, said that so much about this peninsula is it’s wonderful trees. But the clear emphasis is on preserving views from the Promenade. Nini McNamany, long time Hill resident supported trees, like the American Elm, that would provide shade from its canopies for people to gather under the summer sun and that are more in keeping with the history of the Promenade.

Fund raising for this treatment plan has not yet begun, although the Friends hope to secure funds from the CDBG pot as well as from CIP funds.