The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday to consider recommendations to establish a new street tree designation for the 3100 to 3900 blocks of State Street.

The current designation for the 3100 to 3500 blocks is Ficus (the Indian Laurel Fig). The Ficus trees were planted as City Street Trees more than 50 years ago. Now, many of the trees are beginning to show signs of decline.

In consideration of the potential loss of these trees, the city’s Street Tree Advisory Committee has developed recommendations for the gradual replacement of the trees. The recommendations include 11 tree species.

The new trees will establish a vital tree canopy, enhance the State Street corridor and increase safety.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will consider the recommendations as well as discuss the schedule for planting new trees. Twenty new trees are scheduled for planting in the fall of 2011. The remaining 22 Ficus trees will continue to be monitored and maintained.

The public is encouraged to attend this meeting.  The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting will begin at 4 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 735 Anacapa St. Click here for the meeting agenda and staff report.

For more information, contact Tim Downey, urban forest superintendent, at 805.564.5433 or tdowney@santabarbaraca.gov, or Jill Zachary, assistant Parks & Recreation director, at 805.564.5437 or jzachary@santabarbaraca.gov.

— Jill Zachary is the assistant director for the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.