During the Feb. 15th Sandy Springs City Council meeting, a presentation was made about an idea to improve the city’s tree canopy. To be sure, trees can enhance the beauty, air quality and overall quality of life for our community. We want to pose the question to you… what are your thoughts?
There is about $1 million in our Tree Fund and we spend about $150,000 annually for tree conservation, growth and maintenance.
In this same meeting, according to the article in The Sandy Springs Reporter, it was recommended that the city create “a dedicated educational program that included seminars on tree selection and care, pruning classes, invasive removal workshops and volunteer events, activities with children and an Arbor Day celebration.”
The presentation also suggested that the city hire an urban forestry coordinator for oversight and management of all Tree Fund programs, in addition to the full-time arborist the city already employs.
The question we raised back in 2020 still stands: Do we, as a city, care more about our trees than about our people?
A lack of housing choices at all income levels is our biggest challenge and our most dire need. We have long-time residents moving OUT of Sandy Springs every week because they can’t afford to live here. We have every task force, commission, committee, politician and employer talking about the impact the lack of affordable housing is having on our businesses, residents’ lives and our community.
How can we even be talking about hiring an urban forestry coordinator when we don’t have a single person on our city staff dedicated to solving our affordable housing crisis?
We all like trees, but should we first focus on making housing affordable for our neighbors and essential workers – like those who work in child care, elder care, our hospitals and our schools? Should we be taking the $1 million for trees and hiring at least one staff person dedicated to developing solutions for Sandy Springs’ lack of housing options?
Trees are wonderful. But with our current affordable housing crisis, there may soon be far fewer residents around to enjoy them.