Sutter Street's median trees come down

Revitalization project moves forward with first phase
By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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Sutter Street opens up as center medians come out. Some local residents and visitors have mixed opinions about the 12 trees removed from the center median of the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Sutter Street. “It looks so much better now. The trees were diseased anyway,” said Elaine Massey, of Folsom. The trees were originally planted in 12 to 18 inches of soil atop the original Highway 50 when the Sutter Street center median was first installed during the 1960s revitalization project. “The trees were unstable,” said Amy Feagans, Folsom’s housing and redevelopment director. The estimated $8.4 million project has six steps and is currently in the first stage, which includes verifying the location of existing underground utilities, removing center medians and trees and digging trenches for utilities. “You will really get to see the street the way it was originally in the 1950s before the center median went in,” said Feagans. The new plan also includes the addition of 113 new shade trees along the sides of the street including Chinese pistache, ornamental pears, maple, valley oak and others, said Sue Ryan, Folsom public information officer. The new trees planned to be planted range from a 12-to 14-feet high to a 16-to 20-feet high, Feagans said. “These will be big. We will see some good growth,” Feagans said. Joe Fong, 85, lived in Folsom until 1936 before moving to Sacramento. While in Folsom, his father operated a laundry shop on Sutter Street. “I think it’s nice because they should get more people to come to Folsom,” Fong said. “It takes many people to make business.” Many hold mixed opinions about the project. “It’s just opening everything up. Now I can see everything,” said Joe Goure, Indian Trading Post owner on Sutter Street. Community volunteer, Gaynel Walk, thinks otherwise. “I think the city just cut its throat tourism wise,” Walk said. “People used to come to see the old western town, but now it will have a 1930s look. It’s not the same.” Jeff McCracken, 66, has lived in Folsom since 1988. “I have mixed emotions. It’s sad to see some of these trees go, but hopefully we will see some economic development from all of this,” McCracken said.