Eight years ago I moved into my cozy house next to a park. When I hear the squeaky swings I know that someone is in the greenbelt. My dogs run to the park to play ball or go for a walk. They always head right once out the front door, never left. They know where the fun will be.
Until today two beautiful shade trees grew near the play structure, forty-five or so years old, providing shade to children, their parents, caregivers, dogs, runners, smokers, all kinds of park users.
The Home Owner’s Association planted those trees way back when. I pay quarterly dues to keep the green belt, the swimming pool, and the tennis/sports courts in good working order.
A committee of three men makes most of the HOA decisions. Yes, I know I could run for a position on the Danville Place HOA board. No, I have not done that. When I had a problem with another tree in the greenbelt, the committee agreed to take it down. It only took six years to get that done. It was a too-big Eucalyptus, too close to my back fence, dropping limbs annually onto my property. When a flying Eucalyptus limb in a windstorm killed a San Ramon resident walking in an open space near her home, my HOA finally heard my concerns. The tree came down the following May.
So why did the pair of beautiful shade trees near the playground get cut down today? I have my own theory. Two years ago, the HOA committee of three decided that the asphalt path in our green belt looked shabby. They contracted with an asphalt company to make it wider and thicker than it was before. Yes, it looked lovely and shiny black when done, so lovely that I caught a woman taking a joy ride up and down our walking path in her golf cart, with two teen boys inside, and the family dog running behind.
I followed her (on foot) up the path and reminded her that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the greenbelt. Can you imagine how annoying that would be, living just feet from part of the path?
Back to the trees — last year they looked stressed at the top, with many dead branches. This year only the lowest branches had green leaves on them, till today. The rest of the branches were bare.
Coincidence? You will never convince me of that. Those asphalt guys must’ve cut through some critical roots when they widened the path. Now here we are two years later, the gorgeous trees and all their shade gone.
I would’ve preferred the cracked path of yesteryear if we could’ve kept our playground trees.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
I was hoping the HOA muckity-mucks would give the trees one more year to recover. My gardener put a foundation drain in years ago and cut the main tap root to my apple tree. It has struggled along for five years and is half as big but finally has a crop of apples again.