San Diego

Allied Gardens Resident, 91, Temporarily Wins Fight with City of San Diego

Marie Ostwald, 91, planted the tree nearly 60 years ago with her husband.

A 91-year-old Allied Gardens resident has won her fight with the City of San Diego, at least temporarily.

The battle began when Marie Ostwald first called the City of San Diego, asking that they repair a local sidewalk near a beloved tree she planted with her husband 60 years ago. 

"Hi Marie, How are you today?" said Mayor Kevin Faulconer as he walked up to Ostwald, who was sitting faithfully by the large tree. "We're going to keep this tree."

"I hope so," she said. "At least for a couple of years."

"We want you to have many more years," Faulconer said.  

The conversation was a change from Friday, when City crews came out to inspect the area. They found the sidewalk did need repair -- but in order to do so, they would have to remove the tree. The tree's roots are cracking the adjacent sidewalk, and some of its roots need to be removed to make repairs.

When City officials came out Friday to examine the tree, they learned the tree had been placed on a list because of its continuing deterioration, making it a candidate for replacement. 

The cracked sidewalk is a hazard and violated ADA regulations, Bill Harris with the City of San Diego Department of Public Works said. 

Though the city does everything in its power to preserve trees, Harris said, in this case, the tree is a safety hazard. The tree had become too large for the site, Harris said. 

"At the urging of Councilmember Sherman, a City arborist went out again today to inspect the tree and confirmed that it is no longer viable and must be removed," Harris said on Friday.

The tree was scheduled to be removed Monday. However, on Monday, Faulconer announced the City would pause plans to remove the tree in its entirety. 

"It's important," he added. "Little things mean a lot. I wanted you to hear that from me directly."

A second arborist will come out and review the tree's stability to determine if there is any risk of the tree falling, he said on NextDoor, a social media site. When he visited the location, he said he there were more than one way to do things and wanted to find a way for the tree to stay. 

She said if her husband was here, he would say, 'Thank you very much.' 

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