Spotted: ‘Save Our Sycamore’ at Columbus Square

This episode of Spotted comes courtesy of a loyal reader. Like that friendly neighborhood tipster, if you see something, say something – in an email to

Columbus Square has a $2.8 million redesign planned for 2017, but with those improvements, some beloved fixtures to the park may be removed. One of those is a large Sycamore tree that sits along the 12th Street side of the park, near the dog run.


An arborist who previously assessed the tree stated that it may be taken down because of how the long-standing Sycamore has been growing, with a lean towards 12th Street. Area residents and lovers are the park are now hoping to come up with an alternative plan to save this tree, as shown with this flier posted outside of the park.


According to Joseph Brogan, a district manager for Parks and Recreation, “the Capital Projects Division is well aware that members of the community would like the tree to stay.” Brogan also states that an “independent tree expert” is now working to assess the situation to determine the best option for the park.

7 thoughts on “Spotted: ‘Save Our Sycamore’ at Columbus Square

  • June 17, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Does saving this tree also mean saving the matted grass and compacted dirt surrounding it? Will it even fit properly into the new design? Let’s just invent more reasons to delay positive projects in this city. I’m sure they will plant a new tree in its place.

    • June 24, 2016 at 3:10 am

      This is not just ‘any tree.’ It is anywhere from 50 to 80 years old, the tallest tree in the park and a major shade producer in the area. It is a place where families regularly escape the blaring midday sun. Any heritage tree (or healthy functional tree) should be considered IN the design process. This tree is not leaning, or diseased. The issue is that new dog run infrastructure may cause a potential disturbance around the root system of this tree, making it structurally unsound. This should have been addressed in the planning process.

      Establishing large shade trees in the 12th Street area has been difficult over the last 10 years. Construction degradation of the soil makes successful large trees more difficult to establish. The current tree grew into its great size when the land there was much less disturbed.

  • June 17, 2016 at 10:46 am

    I am a lover of trees and parks and I can understand the sentiment here. However, people need to put things into perspective, and stop wasting more time. We can’t save every tree and the design team has worked very hard to make compromise. Let’s stay focused on the new park and lets’ not complicate things where they do not need to be complicated.

    Have lots of free time to worry about every last tree? How about you redirect that free time to something more productive. Neighborhood litter, neighborhood watch patrols, etc.

    • June 24, 2016 at 3:17 am

      A) Please read above.

      B) If you are suggesting that the individuals who are organizing the effort to save this great tree are not involved in other community activities like neighborhood watch and liter, you are incorrect.

  • June 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    There is not much shade at the park; that would be my reason for preserving it. However, a few young trees strategically placed and a pergola would do nicely to replace the greenery and shade.

  • June 20, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Keep the tree. The disgusting urine soaked dog park takes up enough space as it is.

    • June 25, 2016 at 8:21 am

      I agree. City needs more shade from trees which also soak up CO2. Dog people- get a house with yard! That is your dog’s potty. I had 3 dogs and that was the solution that did not impose and my neighbors .

      60 years in. south Philadelphia and I’ve never seen so few people try to impose their will on so many people

Comments are closed.