Hopkins Street looks a little more barren with empty planters waiting another two weeks for trees. Staff photo.
By SEAN WARDWELL
If a tree falls in downtown San Marcos, will it make a sound?
Apparently so, as downtown business owners discovered this week.
The city said 15 trees on the downtown square are in poor condition and need to be replaced. The process of digging the old trees out of planters along Hopkins Street and LBJ Drive began late last week.
Thus, tree-lined downtown streets have given way to rows of empty planters, causing a bit of commotion among locals.
However, said San Marcos Parks and Recreation Director Rodney Cobb, bouts of discussion also preceded the tree removal for more than a year.
“We’ve had a number of requests to rework the plantings,” Cobb said.
Cobb added that the city has consulted with a landscape architect and worked with the Downtown Association on the project for the last 14 months.
“We’re putting in Wax Myrtles, Desert Willows and Red Bud trees,” Cobb said. Those species, he added, are local, thereby requiring less maintenance by the city staff.
Brian Montgomery, head of the San Marcos Downtown Association and owner of The Wine Cellar, said the tree replacement should be welcomed.
“Rodney [Cobb] came down and had a couple of staff members with him,” Montgomery said. “They showed us some of the proposed plantings. We were fully informed. They did a real good job with the ‘whats’ and the ‘whys.’ Our primary concern was whatever plantings were chosen would have to dovetail with the downtown master plan.”
Though some downtown business owners were less than happy about the tree replacement, Montgomery said it should come as no surprise. Montgomery said the Downtown Association had been communicating with its members for some time about this and many other aspects of the downtown master plan.
“We send out information to over 300 people on our mailing list,” Montgomery said. “Sometimes people are too busy to read it or go to the meetings. I sent out three newsletters and two actual letters over the span of the last three months.”
The funds for the project came through the normal budgeting process and were approved by city council.
The square also saw extensive re-plantings ten years ago, when trees were put in and were quickly removed because of their non-indigenous nature. New trees were replanted. Now, some of those are being replaced.
“These [new trees] are more suitable for an urban landscape,” Cobb said.
City staff expects the work to be completed within the next two weeks.Email | Print