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East End News

The weed trees at Chimborazo Park are being cleared right now (UPDATED)

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130 comments

Ryan D 05/30/2017 at 10:46 AM

Excellent does this mean the cobblestone paths along the view area connecting top to bottom are also being cleared?

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Beth Hungate-Noland 05/30/2017 at 9:48 AM

Dreams do come true!!!

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Matt Conrad 05/30/2017 at 11:02 AM

Hooray for Mayor Stoney and his team for their responsiveness!

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mary 05/30/2017 at 11:09 AM

Hooray for CHPN for making “the view” public.

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JessOfRVA 05/30/2017 at 11:52 AM

Yay!!!

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HW 05/30/2017 at 12:01 PM

Anyone know if they’re just trimming or treating as well, i.e. will this stuff be back in a matter of weeks?

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Rebecca Parker 05/30/2017 at 11:06 AM

I think these are Tree-of-heaven, so they will likely grow back quickly after being cut, resprouting from roots. With a first year growth of up to 13ft. It requires an intensive control scheme with ground over planted on top to minimize regrowth and just keeping at it for a long time. So hopefully this is the beginning of that effort!

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Steven Summerville 05/30/2017 at 11:10 AM

I was up there yesterday and wondering about all of the paths and fountains hidden under those trees

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Thirsty Monroe 05/30/2017 at 1:10 PM

Dank

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Kathi Sanders 05/30/2017 at 12:46 PM

This is awesome!! Thank you!!

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WarGibFA 05/30/2017 at 1:49 PM

Hah, so that’s what the crew near the dog park this morning was about! So awesome.

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Rebecca Parker 05/30/2017 at 12:59 PM

This does seem to be the correct time of year for cutting, though. If you see them applying herbicides to the stumps right after cutting, then they are doing the best option.

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Rick Tatnall 05/30/2017 at 2:51 PM

It is unfortunate that with all of the attention CHPN and its followers have given this problem on Chimborazo Hill the City did not see any value in letting us know ahead of time that something was going to be done. I went out and saw that the contractors (Lot Scapes – weeattrees.com) have lots of heavy equipment that is essentially mulching the trees from top to bottom. Their process certainly does not involve any herbicides as the work is so large scale and there are so many trees of heaven. It would be really nice if the City would tell us what their overall plans entail including how they intend on keeping the growth from coming back and how the community might help in the future.

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Sachie Godwin 05/30/2017 at 2:52 PM

Let’s tempt apocalyptic weather when I return!

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tony 05/30/2017 at 3:57 PM

the stairs near the round house had chemicals tossed around them onto the weed growth.

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Tammie Lyle 05/30/2017 at 4:02 PM

Use to be a great park. ..

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shaking my head 05/30/2017 at 7:00 PM

That is awesome!!! cut them down so next year there can 100 more!! so smart!!! excellent! let all you people cheer for a short term and narrow minded solution. Pat yourselves on the back. Mission accomplished. The trees are laughing

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Daniel 05/30/2017 at 10:25 PM

@shaking my head

This is the first step towards progress. Don’t be such a Debbie downer. After this is done, the key is to maintain the hillside. They will need to weed sack the hill side at least 2 times a month…. that is the key people !!!! Once again the key is to maintain it! These trees will not survive getting weedwacked every two weeks

The question we should be asking is… what is the maintainence plan?

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Kathleen 05/30/2017 at 10:31 PM

Maybe we should wait to hear the City’s plans before deciding they are doing it all wrong???

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KO 05/31/2017 at 12:34 AM

Nice title.

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vsuspringer 05/31/2017 at 2:51 PM

Way to go City Hall. Now when I walk my dog, I can see Russia (or at least Southside). Thank you for your efforts and I agree with Daniel, don’t be a Debbie Downer, why should City Hall have to ask us if they can cut a bunch of overgrowth down. High expectations + High oversight = MICROMANAGEMENT.

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frank pichel 05/31/2017 at 5:12 PM

umm. None of the trees that people have been complaining about have been cut. A 10′ wide stripe was cut from the bottom of the hill, in some areas, and a field on the lower part was mowed for the first time 2 years (the blackberries were just about to ripen.) I don’t know if they plan to come back on another day, but today there is no equipment around and no trees that affect the view were cut.

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Kathi Sanders 05/31/2017 at 7:58 PM

Took some pictures this evening of the work being done to remove the scrub trees. I hope they are coming back!!

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Church Hill People's News 05/31/2017 at 8:07 PM

me too!

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Kathi Sanders 05/31/2017 at 8:12 PM

I’m going to try to go down there in the afternoon tomorrow and see if I can talk to the people who are doing the work.

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Rick Tatnall 06/01/2017 at 6:58 AM

Sorry folks but this work being done at Chimborazo has NOTHING to do with improving the view or eliminating the weed trees. I spoke with a worker yesterday who confirmed such. As Frank said, they have manicured the bottom of the hill and are making the walking paths down that way more accessible by managing the growth in the fields. This is a low-level park maintenance project which is why the City did not tell us ahead of time about the work. So, we are back to square one, or maybe square 2 as now at least we have finally made our Council member aware that there is a problem with the view (apparently she did not know until very recently about this issue).

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Kathleen 06/01/2017 at 8:05 AM

Dr Newbille needs to follow some social media. Or have Sam do it for her.

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frank pichel 06/01/2017 at 9:45 AM

The contractor is down there today. I just called the park service, then the city maintenance office who is managing the cutting. Mike Barber there said that the plan is to cut as many trees as they can reach with the equipment they have. If any trees are left they will cut them in mid-winter by hand. Mike said they don’t have the resources that they need to mow what they are currently tasked with, and that if that had to mow all the hillsides as well they would require a lot more funding, so this sounded like a one time effort with special funding.

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frank pichel 06/01/2017 at 9:53 AM

*they had to mow

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Brian 06/01/2017 at 1:21 PM

Is anybody going to complain if we just go down there ourselves to do SOME work? The trees that were cut down last year haven’t grown back, even though people swear they are going to. If they did grow back, how much worse could it get? We’d at least have a summer without them. Why would people poo poo that idea?

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Daniel 06/01/2017 at 2:01 PM

Why do I feel like a little kid that just got a popsicle and then another kid came up and swatted it out of my hand onto the ground…?

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Rick Tatnall 06/02/2017 at 10:09 AM

I WAS WRONG about the scope of the work at Chimborazo. Following up on Frank’s investigative work and feeling bad about figuratively swatting Daniel’s popsicle to the ground, I went to Chimbo again today and spoke with another worker who confirmed that they are going to remove everything they can on the entire hill and restore the view from the round house to the steps at 32nd Street. They will be working next week and moving the heavy equipment to the top of the hill and working downwards and will try and hand cut anything that the machinery can’t reach. Per the worker the City will be maintaining the hill from that point on.

FYI, I sent the questions below on Tuesday to Councilwoman Newbille who forwarded them to Bobby Vincent at DPW asking for a response. I have not received any response as of yet.

Questions about the process to clear the Chimborazo Park hill:
Q – Are all trees on the hill being eliminated, or just the invasive species?
Q – Does this current project have any other objectives other than cutting down the trees?
Q – What efforts and strategies are being used to maintain the hill once the cutting is done? Specifically, what is the plan for controlling the “trees of heaven” which are quite hearty and quick to return?
Q – Is the use of herbicide a part of the strategic plan?
Q – What is the total $ cost of the current work being done by the contractor hired by the City (Lot Scapes)?
Q – When was this money allocated in the budget for this project?
Q – Is there any other funding allocated for this project or for future maintenance?
Q – Is there anything that the community can do to assist with future maintenance?
Q – Why does the community have to find out about projects like this, a project that we have been crying about for years, from the sound of heavy machinery when the work starts?
=========
I apologize for spreading bad intel – I wish it wasn’t so hard to get the right information and I hope this situation will influence our City Administration and Council member to help us get information before things happen.

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booster 06/02/2017 at 1:17 PM

City does something right. Local un-elected, un-appointed activist who wanted the credit for it then sends around a poison pen letter.

I’ve seen this episode before. It ends the same way every time: unsuccessfully.

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ray 06/02/2017 at 4:10 PM

Yeah, booster, and the efforts of the electeds and city government always end so successfully….right…..

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Kathleen 06/02/2017 at 6:26 PM

Wait, this is good news, right?? I’m so confused!

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Dubois2 06/02/2017 at 11:45 PM

Soooo, y’all professional landscape architects, anyone concerned about erosion? There’s a good reason to leave

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frank pichel 06/09/2017 at 2:31 PM

Work stopped 4+ days ago. Any idea what’s happening?

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ray 06/09/2017 at 5:55 PM

Saw it yesterday. HORRIBLE.

Looked better when Dwight Jones was Mayor.

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Rick Tatnall 06/09/2017 at 7:28 PM

Hi Frank and other interested parties: The contractor hired by the City Department of Public Works to eliminate the growth on the hill at Chimborazo Park and subject of this post, Lot Scapes, has informed me that they will be out working next week (starting Mon June 10th) with the intention of mechanically (no herbicides) eliminating to the ground all vegetation on the hill, probably by the end of the week – Lot Scapes had built in some bad weather days that impacted this job’s schedule last week. It appears that whatever will happen after they cut the hill in terms of maintenance is up to the City of Richmond, which currently has no funding for such projects.

But we are blessed with a “blank canvas” to work with on this hill because of folks in DPW, especially Operations Manager Mike Evins and his boss Bobby Vincent, the newly appointed Director of the City’s Department of Public Works, and their attention to the requests of the community as relates to the view from the park.

Since this must be a collaborative effort moving forward I am currently working to arrange a meeting in late July at Chimborazo Park, involving City folk and all interested community members, to discuss the future maintenance of this hill.

I would also like to salute John Murden and Church Hill People’s News (CHPN)for drawing attention to issues like the view at Chimborazo. THANKS JOHN!

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jean mcdaniel 06/10/2017 at 5:39 AM

What happened to friends of Chimborazo Park and friends of Chimborazo Playground? These organizations were supposed to be the voice of the community regarding these parks.

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Kathleen 06/10/2017 at 9:11 AM

Rick: I would love to be at your meeting with the City. I’m sending you an email. This is great news!

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Kathleen 06/10/2017 at 9:13 AM

Jean: Friends of Chimborazo Park never really got off the ground. Meeting attendance dwindled very quickly. I don’t know anything about the playground group.

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frank pichel 06/12/2017 at 1:13 PM

Thanks Rick. Sign me up!

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Eric Huffstutler 06/12/2017 at 1:46 PM

@42 Kathleen. I feel your pain. I am not quite sure why people are all Gung-Ho about wanting things to happen within our community but don’t want to commit to getting their own hands dirty doing it? Back in 2011, a bunch of people (including myself) from all walks of life, got together to form a grassroots group for the advancement and overseeing the proper preservation of Church Hill. Tasks were assigned according to each person’s interest or background but by the second meeting, attendance dropped in half and was basically disbanded in a couple of months.

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Eric Huffstutler 06/12/2017 at 2:21 PM

@38 ray, Jones was an “Ivory Tower” mayor where at least Stoney is out and about mingling with the public to get a feel of reality.

As far as erosion, take into consideration that the hill was clear for decades if not centuries without issues. As long as there is grass you will not have problems.

My concern is that these weeds, now trees, have developed a major root system and will only sprout back up. It should have been taken care of before they even became saplings. What will be done to make sure this situation doesn’t repeat itself?

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ray 06/12/2017 at 4:53 PM

Eric – Whether the style is ivory tower or all mingly, the hill at Chimbo looks worse than it ever has. Hope the new Mayor can do better than Jones on this.

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Kathleen 06/12/2017 at 9:13 PM

I walk Chimborazo Park almost every day so I’ve been watching the weed trees for a while now. Today the clearing has resumed and the view is returning, which is amazing. As grateful as I am to see the trees cut down, I am concerned about what will happen next. I hope Rick is able to get a meeting with Park officials. Hopefully there is already a plan for maintenance.

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frank pichel 06/13/2017 at 9:37 AM

Hi Kathleen, I spoke directly to the city’s operations manager Mike Evins. He said that there aren’t funds to mow/maintain the hillsides. However, that could change if we make our voices heard.
My desire is to understand the city’s plan, if there is one. Or to help create one, if it doesn’t exist.
If there is a lack of funds, let’s develop a plan for creating some wilderness areas in the lower part of park with community-maintained trails through it, but also keep the views from the top of the park by mowing the top 1/3 of the hillsides. Even if it’s only cut twice a year like at Libby Hill that will keep the trees from getting established.

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Rick Tatnall 06/13/2017 at 12:05 PM

Hi Kathleen and Frank and others interested in the hill at Chimborazo Park. As Frank has mentioned, there are no funds to maintain the hill in the future and there really are no plans either. We should be thankful that Mike Evins of DPW listened to our pleas and did the work to get a good bid from Lot Scapes ($38,000 to clear the hill) and found the money in the current 2017 fiscal budget, which ends this month.

Since there is no maintenance plan for the future of the hill, the meeting I mentioned for late July is designed to create one. The meeting will include Mr. Evins and others from DPW, and hopefully the Tree Stewards and other experts. Mr. Evins asked me to get back with him in the first week of July to set the meeting and CHPN will be one of the ways we get the word out to the community about the meeting once it is set.

As Frank has mentioned. even with a lack of funds there is a lot the community can do to help maintain the hill so the growth does not come back. We will certainly look to involve Bike / Ped / Trails folks in the July meeting as there is a lot of opportunity for trails of all kinds. This is also the time for creative thinking about the long term future of this hill and towards that end Chris Lumpkin is preparing a presentation for the meeting about establishing a “food forest” on the hill. Other ideas are welcomed, so go over to Chimbo and check out the work and dream about what could be. And while you are over there say thanks to Mike Evins and new DPW Director Booby Vincent for giving us our view back. Now it is up to all of us to keep it that way.

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Juliellen 06/13/2017 at 2:33 PM

$38,000?????

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Rick Tatnall 06/13/2017 at 3:18 PM

Oops, I just saw a typo in my last comment – sorry Bobby Vincent!!!

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Kathleen 06/13/2017 at 6:34 PM

There are huge opportunities for Chimborazo Park. I don’t know if any of you have ever ventured off the cobblestone paths and onto the trails that already exist in the lower park. Those trail give us access to the old Church Hill train tunnel, as well a look at the track bed and what’s left of the train tracks that led to the tunnel. You can see where there was pedestrian access over Williamsburg Rd. into the Park and there’s the site of what was a bridge over Gillies Creek. It’s really interesting to explore what’s already there. Lots of History!! I’m hoping I can attend the July meeting.

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frank pichel 06/13/2017 at 8:24 PM

Kathleen, a lot of those trails are actually on railroad property I think and not part of the park. I used to try to maintain some of them for my own use a couple years ago.

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The clearing of the weed trees at Chimborazo Park - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 06/16/2017 at 9:33 AM

[…] Allie has posted an awesome set of “in process” photos of the clearing of the weed trees at Chimborazo. […]

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