Construction Progress – Week 6

TREE UPDATE:  During the planning phase for this project RPD hired HortScience, Inc., a well respected arborist, to perform an assessment of all the park trees and street trees in and around Lafayette Park. The arborist’s report was used to develop a tree removal plan to be implemented through the renovation project.  The removal plan addresses trees that have been identified as being in poor health and at risk of failing, as well as those trees that will need to be either removed or relocated due to impacts of the construction project.  A copy of the original arborist’s assessment report is available on the project website.

Since construction began I have received may inquires from park users as to the need for the removal of what appears to be a large number of healthy trees.  In response, RPD asked our consultant arborist and landscape architect to revisit the tree removal plan, and reevaluate the trees designated for removal with the objective of retaining trees whenever feasible and appropriate.   We have now received their final recommendations.  A copy of the full assessment and a key plan will be available on the website as soon as our webmaster returns from vacation.  Below is a summary of the action plan.

Trees with Trunk Diameters >= 6”

No of Existing Trees on Site:  225

No of Trees to be removed:  44

(4)  Construction Impact

(40) Compromised Health

No. of Trees to be transplanted:  3

How does this new plan deviate from the original plan? 

Trees with Trunk Diameters >= 6”

No. of Trees Converted to from Remove to Preservation Status:  15

(3) To be transplanted

(3) Retained through Design Modifications

(9) Arborist has downgraded them to moderate risk, as they would fall outside primary program/work zones

What does the new plan mean for the most beloved trees?

#39, the Plum tree located just north of the tennis courts, will be transplanted.  This tree was originally designated to be removed due to its proximity to the new ADA path serving the lawn area.  The project team has determined that rerouting of the path, which is required by code, would be very complex and would result in other undesirable impacts to the park.  This tree is larger than typically transplanted, but upon further consultation with the arborist, we believe that it is healthy and of a strong species and therefore is a good candidate for relocation.  The tree will be boxed and then replanted in a nearby location.

#99, a large Eucalyptus located at the summit, will be retained through design changes.  This tree was originally designated to be removed due to its proximity to the new maintenance complex.  The design team has determined that the complex may be moved 7 ft west and still maintain the required access, resulting in the preservation of tree #99.

#239, the large Cypress located near the Washington and Laguna Street stairs, will not be removed.  While the tree is still considered to be a poor candidate for preservation, the arborist’s new recommendation is to perform additional pruning, and then continue to monitor it for signs of potential failure.

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS:  As you may already know, the construction permit for this project was appealed to the Board of Appeals and is now suspended pending a hearing scheduled for August 22.  Though this is a setback, it is not the end of the world.  This permit is one of three building permits needed for this project, and a fair amount of the scope of work is exempt from permitting all together.  RPD has met with representatives from the Department of Building Inspection and the Contractor and developed an action plan that enables some work to continue while the appeal works its way through the process.  You will see workers on site performing work between now and August 22.  At this point we do not know the extent to which this will impact the overall scheduled completion date.  However, I want to assure everyone that RPD and Bauman Landscape Construction are committed to working together to complete the project as quickly as possible so that we can reopen the park for everyone’s enjoyment.  I will keep you updated as more information becomes available.