Inglewood clears trees for Space Shuttle Endeavour's upcoming trek

Corey Moore/KPCC

Inglewood chopped down about 128 trees to clear the way for Space Shuttle Endeavour's planned trek through South LA streets on October 12. LA will clear away 265 trees.

Inglewood officials said they expect work crews to soon finish removing more than 120 trees to make way for the space shuttle Endeavour's historic 12-mile trek from the LAX to the California Science Center next month.

They're not the only arbor on the chopping block; Los Angeles plans to take the ax to about 265 trees, including pine and ficus. Trees in the medians and along the sidewalks of Manchester and Crenshaw Boulevards in South L.A. are now stumps with orange traffic cones on top.

Authorities say workers will need plenty of open space next month when they haul the 85-ton Endeavour from LAX through Inglewood and South L.A. to its final resting place at the California Science Center.

Sabrina Barnes — who directs Inglewood's Parks, Recreation and Library Services — said removing trees is only a crucial first step.

"We'll be looking forward to the replacement which will be done shortly after the shuttle comes to the city," Barnes said. "We'll be replacing the trees at a two-to-one ratio so we'll get two trees for every tree replaced."

Mawusi Watson with the mayor's office in Inglewood added that officials took a thorough look at replacing trees. That effort begins several weeks after Endeavour gets to the California Science Center.

"We just didn't settle for any young tree. We wanted trees that had the most maturity that could fit the specific location," she emphasized.

Some community advocates said that while they appreciate the historical moment of Endeavour's trek on October 12th, they're not happy that crews have to cut down so many trees.

Authorities said they considered airlifting the Endeavour or transporting it along the freeway, but those options wouldn't work because the shuttle is so huge.

The California Science Center will reportedly spend half a million dollars to spruce up city streets. That includes replacing the trees.

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