Pasco tackles old trees, torn up sidewalks

Pasco tackles old trees, torn up sidewalks »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- Pasco may rip out mature trees that are tearing up sidewalks and becoming a danger neighbors. The city has known the trees were a problem. It just didn't have the money to cut them down.

The cracked and uneven sidewalk along Park Street has been the norm for Erik Bautista.

"I remember as a little kid, maybe six or seven, I used to have a scooter and I would jump over the cracks in the sidewalks that the trees made," he says.

After years of planning and saving, Pasco now plans to remove the sidewalk and replace it, but a smooth, new surface will come at the expense of more than a dozen of trees.

The city says it's not just the sidewalks that got their attention, they say heavy branches have been falling out of the trees for years, damaging cars and even crushing one of them. They said it's finally time to do something about it.

Pasco plans to rip out most of the trees lining Sylvester Street and Henry Street from Edgar Brown Stadium all the way to Volunteer Park.
The trees will be replaced, but they won't be the 100-year old beauties that stand here now. This is just the first part of the project. As Pasco gets more money to do it, more trees will be removed, and sidewalks replaced.

Pasco says it can't do a patch job. The sidewalks and trees must be overhauled.

"The sidewalks have to go. There's no economic reason to keep them. It'd cost more to try to work around them than to just replace them," says Planning Coordinator Rick White.

Replacement trees won't damage the new concrete, even when fully grown.

"The trees we've chosen now are well behaved. // So we don't have the same problem in 60 years that we do now," White added.

Still, removing the old trees will, no doubt, change the look of the neighborhood.

"I feel like the change would be too much. I mean, if it was a big enough issue over the sidewalks and everything, something would have been done a while ago," Erik says.

The city plans to take on the tree removal and sidewalk replacement before the end of the year. Pasco says most of the neighbors have been cooperative. Right now just Park Street will be affected. The city will continue towards Nixon after that. All told, the project could cost as much as $500 thousand.

It will all be paid for with block grant money.