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A true green space: survey shows new West U park will have abundant tree canopy

May 26, 2016 By:Charlotte Aguilar

Community

By Carlos Aguilar

West University’s urban forester and a contingent from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department made an informal survey Thursday afternoon of what is destined to become West U’s newest park — and the news was good.

“Two-thirds of the trees should be able to be preserved,” said Urban Forester Craig Koehl. “Fifty percent of the park will have a good canopy – pretty good for an urban park.”

The 15,000 square-foot property is on the northwest corner of Sewanee Avenue and Pittsburg Street and since 1928 was the family home of Jim Hughes. When he died April 1 at the age of 89, he left it to the city for use as a passive park to be named for his mother, Jennie Elizabeth Hughes.

He also left the city $200,000 to fund development of the verdant space.

For imminent safety reasons, Koehl recommended removal of a large water oak tree along a curb on Pittsburg that he said suffered from a lethal fungus, and Parks Director Tim O’Connor agreed removal would be an immediate priority.

Neighbors Annie and Paul Hailes, who watched the visit from across the street, were relieved at that news.

“We’ve noticed through the years every time there’s big wind, limbs have come down off that tree – that tree is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Paul. “It’s a very beautiful tree, but it’s old – it’s ready to go.”

Several other large water oaks and pecan trees around the perimeter of the property appear to be sound, Koehl said, but a few smaller trees, including loquats along the driveway, are in poor shape.

Still, the visit was positive — including an idea from O’Connor. Examining the sizeable burls on the diseased water oak, he was hopeful that they could be removed carefully, cut and polished to turn into a design feature of the new park.

City Council accepted the land and funding as a donation Monday night and approved execution of an agreement to develop the park according to the family’s wishes. West U will take over the property on June 1.

A group from the city of West University inspects a water oak tree on the property being donated to the city by the late Jim Hughes. (Photo by Carlos Aguilar)

A group from the city of West University inspects a water oak tree on the property being donated to the city by the late Jim Hughes. (Photo by Carlos Aguilar)

West U Urban Forester Craig Koehl inspects a diseased water oak on the Harris property that's being donated to the city. (Photo by Carlos Aguilar)

West U Urban Forester Craig Koehl inspects a diseased water oak on the Harris property that’s being donated to the city. (Photo by Carlos Aguilar)

2 Responses to “A true green space: survey shows new West U park will have abundant tree canopy”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Let the professionals handle the design features of the new park for the citizens. As for the previous comment, why do you attack Brennan? OK, so he doesn’t support the taxpayers & argues his point long AFTER the vote, you voted this ridiculous group of politicians into office, didn’t you? Next time, don’t vote a “slate” of people who say one thing, but do another! We would be better off voting for ANYONE but those in office currently!

  2. Anonymous (but not that one) Says:

    Shhh, nobody tell Brennan.

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