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Sunnyside woman to protest removal of park trees

Sunnyside resident Donna Homer's first memory of Central Park in Sunnyside is from 1945.

Homer at that time was a little seven-year-old girl who wanted to show her father she could cross the monkey bars. Since that day Homer has been in and out of Sunnyside but moved back permanently in 1968.

She is concerned that the city plans to cut down some trees in the park. "It's the only park that has any shade trees," she said. "Are these trees really dangerous?"

"I will be protesting by the swings in the park on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon," she said. "I'm hoping to gather signatures for my petition."

Homer said she had an arborist look at the report the city is using to determine if the trees need to be cut down and she's convinced not all of the trees need to be.

"There will be nothing to shade the swings in the park," Homer said of the park's north section. "My grandkids have played on those swings and a lot of other people use that park."

Sunnyside's Public Works Director Jim Bridges said two independent arborists, one from Yakima and the other from the Tri-Cities, deemed these trees hazardous. He said some are hazardous, some are just crowding other trees and hindering growth and some are just dead.

A public hearing will held Monday, Aug. 28, by the Sunnyside City Council to hear public comment on the trees. Bridges said his staff will recommend removal of the trees.

Bridges also added the person who removes the trees will be an arborist and if that person thinks a tree can be saved, all efforts will be made to save the tree in question.

Homer will be at the public hearing to voice her concerns and present her petition, which she hopes will be full of signatures.

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