A line of 50-foot-tall trees stands between a public golf course in Palm Springs, California, and an adjacent historically black neighborhood. The trees were planted in the 1960s, but now, residents of that city block have had enough and want the “racist” trees to come down.
An extensive story was featured in the Desert Sun back in September:
Along the 14th fairway of Palm Springs' Tahquitz Creek Golf Course stands a long row of tamarisk trees, a 50-foot-tall wall of dense foliage seen nowhere else on the course. This species of tree, which guzzles water and leaves large deposits of salt, is so invasive that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has categorized it as a pest.
But residents living for decades on the other side of this thicket, in the Lawrence Crossley neighborhood, see the tamarisks as something far worse than a horticultural nuisance. They see the trees as an enduring symbol of racism and inequality – and they want them removed by the city of Palm Springs, which owns the golf course.
Black residents say the trees were planted to block the view of their neighborhood for the white people playing golf. In addition, the residents say the property value of their homes have not risen at the same rate as more affluent neighborhoods around the city. They are convinced the values will go up if the trees are gone because then their homes will have views of the green fairways and the San Jacinto Mountain Range.
On Sunday, the residents were told they are finally getting their wish. Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon said the trees will come down, along with the chain link fence, in about three months. The total cost? A whopping $169,000. (Anybody want to start a lumber-cutting business?)
City manager David Ready said in all of his 17 years serving the community, he has never heard from the Lawrence Crossley neighborhood about the supposedly segregating foliage. The fuss only started a little earlier this year. Though he isn’t convinced there was any racist motivation in planting the trees 50 years ago, he said, “If people feel that way, that feeling is real.”