Palm Springs, California, will remove a row of trees separating a neighborhood from a golf course—because they were deemed racist by residents.
Lawrence Crossley neighborhood residents complained that the trees evoked feelings of “segregation” and “discrimination.” The trees reportedly block a historically African-American neighborhood from the city-owned Tahquitz Creek Golf Course, according to local newspaper the Desert Sun.
Mayor Robert Moon, Councilman J.R Roberts, and other city officials promised at an informal meeting with the residents last Sunday on Dec. 17 that they would remove the row of tamarisk trees.
Longtime residents of the neighborhood claim that the trees were planted with racial reasonings back in the 1960s and that it was an eyesore due to the history of segregation.
They told the newspaper that the trees block views of the golf course and the nearby San Jacinto mountains. They even said that the trees have “artificially depressed” property values.
“I truly believe they were planted to segregate the black neighborhood from the ritzy community over there and that shouldn’t stand anymore,” resident Cathie Fox told the paper in September.
But City Manager David Ready said that the removal will take some time as the full City Council would have to unanimously approve the action. He predicts that the removal could happen in three months time.
Ready previously told the Desert Sun that the decision would be a “major policy change” and that it would cost about $169,000 in taxpayer money.
At the Sunday meeting, Roberts said that getting the money could be an issue, “It’s not about a price to pay, it’s about finding the money.”
The residents are making four demands of the city—remove the trees, build a 6-foot privacy wall for residents who want it, install netting or something similar to prevent errant golf balls from flying into residents’ yards, and plant new trees similar to those seen along with other parts of the course, according to the newspaper.
The mayor said they will focus on the first step of removing the trees, before moving on to discuss other concerns.
Trae Daniel, a real estate agent … who moved into the neighborhood 14 years ago, led residents to voice their concerns to the city.