Letter: Here one day… gone the next

To the Editor,

Has anyone else noticed the big hole in a major Exeter intersection? Well, not a hole in the actual sense, but in the visual sense. What’s there is a stump. What’s missing is a 50-foot tall redwood tree.

The “there,” in this case, is the planter area in the triangular park at the intersection of Hwy 65, Maple and B streets. Like all of Exeter’s public spaces, it has a history. Rena Cary, from a pioneer Exeter family recorded these histories in a 1978 booklet titled “Exeter’s Parks, Plantings And Pioneers.” In it, she referred to this park by the name was meant to have—Redwood Park, not Planter Park.

Mine is a personal memory since I was one of the Exeter Garden members involved in this 1971 beautification project. Our plan was to request that the Sequoia National Forest Service give us a Sequoia Gigantea to put in the space behind the large redwood slab with Exeter emblazoned on the side that welcomes those coming in from the south. The dream was it would grow to a grandeur to match the slab.

What we were given was an entirely different story. To our dismay, they presented us with a two-foot spindly tree that even Charlie Brown could not love. But a few of us planted it on a sunny morning to the horn honking, jeers and cat calls of friends driving by.

We then petitioned the city to add a watering system and name the space Redwood Park but did not follow up by taking the request to the city council. Maybe it got lost in the mail.

True, the tree was not doing well in recent years (was it watered correctly?) and someone in the city system thought it should be removed. Perhaps the Planter Park sign should be removed along with the stump. With a fresh start and a new name, this important entrance to a gem of a city could be realized.

Shirley Kirkpatrick

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