Council rejects downtown tree replacement

Houston council voted last Tuesday not to replace distressed and dying trees downtown.

Houston council voted last Tuesday not to replace distressed and dying trees downtown.

Director of Engineering John Guenther proposed replacing the dying and diseased trees, with a fund not exceeding $12,000.

Houston Mayor Bill Holmberg said the last tree planting project was expensive and not very successful.

“I myself think it’s money we shouldn’t be spending right now,” he said.

Asked about maintenance costs, Guenther said they’re minimal after the initial nurturing. “Under $1,000.”

Councillor Shane Brienen said he would like to see the project finished.

“What we have now is we have trees and then we have dead trees and spaces. I’d like to see it done right.

“I’d like to see a plan in place for maintaining it,” he said.

“I don’t talk to anyone downtown who hates the trees… what they do hate is seeing us spend money on trees and them being dead.”

Mayor Holmberg asked if the cost was quantifiable.

Guenther said the $1,200 cost covers replacing 30 trees, the planting and nurturing.

“There’s contributions from businesses too,” he said.

Mayor Holmberg and Councillor Rick Lundrigan voted against tree planting, and Councillor Michalle Jolly and Shane Brienen voted for.

The proposal was defeated.