PALM SPRING, Calif. — Palm Springs will remove a row of tall tamarisk trees which residents say has segregated a historically black neighborhood.

Mayor Robert Moon, council member J.R. Roberts and other city officials promised neighborhood residents that they would remove the trees and a chain link fence along property lines as soon as possible at an informal meeting, the Desert Sun reported Monday.

Many longtime residents told the paper that they believe the trees that separate the neighborhood from the city-owned Tahquitz Creek Golf Course were planted for racist reasons in the 1960s.

Not only do the tall trees block their view of the golf course and the San Jacinto mountains, they also artificially depress property values, preventing black families from accumulating wealth in their property for the past half century, residents said.

Roberts apologized to the neighborhood residents for any wrongdoing by the city in the past.

“It’s a new city council and a new time,” Moon said.

The tree removal needs to be approved by the entire city council before the plan can move forward, said City Manager David Ready.

From there, the city will need to consult arborists and put the tree removal out to bid like any other city-fund project, he said.

He estimates the trees could come down within three months.

The city expects to spend about $169,000 on the project, Ready previously said.


Information from: The Desert Sun, http://www.desertsun.com