Science Center says number of trees will be increased after shuttle's trip

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Many people who live in South L.A. are upset about trees being removed to make way for the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s journey next month. California Science Center executives said Monday that they will increase the number of replacement trees that will be planted in some neighborhoods.

In two city council districts along the Endeavour route, 476 trees will be planted. That’s four times the number of trees being removed in those neighborhoods.

During a public hearing at L.A. City Hall, California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph told the Department of Public Works board that more than 760 trees would be planted in total. They include some large box trees to address concerns over the loss of mature trees that provide shade.

Rudolph said workers will plant the new trees within 120 days after the city approves the re-planting permits.

“And we’ve split that 120 day period into two parts," Rudolph said. "Those along Crenshaw and Martin Luther King which is on the route in my understanding is you can more rapidly approve planting those trees than the balance because they’re going to be far more trees now so they won’t all go back on the same streets.”

Some community members have complained that Science Center and city leaders did a poor job of letting neighborhood residents know about the plan.

Rudolph said his group will improve in this regard.

“We need to continue - as many of you have said - continue the efforts to engage and involve everyone in our community in this effort and to just be out there more than we have been and more than everyone has been, frankly," Rudolph said.

South LA resident and substitute teacher Ayana McCowen said she's satisfied that the trees will be replanted but is upset about the outreach effort.

"Why wasn't the community informed about the process?" Cowen asked. "I'm definitely going to be watching the replanting process. I will be counting trees to make sure."

The Public Works board approved a permit to allow the Science Center to begin removing trees along the route.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour’s two-day trek to the California Science Center through the streets of South LA begins October 12th.

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