By Neil Nisperos
Lompoc, CA (June 19, 2007)- It’s down with the hedges at Johns-Manville Park as officials hope to curb illegal and potentially dangerous activities centering around the foliage. Cindy McCall, Lompoc parks and urban forestry manager, said her department will remove the 40-foot-high, 100-foot-long row at the Johns-Manville Park in order to curb illegal and dangerous activity hidden by the vegetation.
The hedges offer a wind break for ball players at the park, according to some parents, but McCall said homeless people have been sleeping in the hedges, and hypodermic needles and condoms have been found there.
“We should be completed (soon) and we have a plan to replant them with some nice flowering shrubs and trees,” McCall said. “That way, people can’t hide behind them and they won’t get tall. We won’t have the worries of drugs (being used there) and some homeless people sleeping back there.”
The Department of Urban Forestry plans to replant the northern park boundary with trees and small flowering shrubs. McCall said removing the hedges would be cheaper than maintaining them, adding the work would save the Department of Urban Forestry, which is supported by the general fund, $25,000 each year. “This is going to be a reduction in cost,” McCall said. “The initial removal and cost is not nearly what it cost us in labor in the past.”
Police applauded the move. “Any time that there is increased visibility, it is always better for public safety,” said Lompoc police spokeswoman Sgt. Deanna Clement.
For the full article, visit the Lompoc Record.