Famed Cotati tree moves to new home on August 7
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By Dave Williams  July 25, 2014 12:00 am

The famed rare Cotati Chimeric Albino Redwood tree, of which saving became a celebrated cause, now has a moving date.

The Cotati tree’s actual relocation date is scheduled for Aug. 7 between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m., but work on preparing the tree for the move will begin on July 30, according to Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit spokesman Matt Stevens.

The tree, which stands alongside the tracks for SMART, must be moved because it is too close to the railroad tracks and is considered a potential hazard.

SMART will transport the tree from its current location to a site on the east side of the railroad tracks in Cotati.

“I think the takeaway from this is the community felt it was an important tree to save and because we’re building a community asset with the SMART train, we feel part of the community and we wanted to relook at the alternatives around the tree,” Stevens said. “And we decided it’s in the community’s best interest to move the tree.”

The more dire alternative was chopping down the tree altogether.

Stevens was unable to provide a precise breakdown of the numbers, but the cost to move the three will be in the neighborhood of $150,000. SMART is likely to bear the brunt of the bill. Stevens, however, said there will be contributions from the City of Cotati and contractors Stacy and Witbeck/Herzog, which is rebuilding the railroad tracks. The actual moving of the tree will be done by subcontractor Environmental Design Inc., a Texas-based company that specializes in moving large trees. 

The tree originally was slated to be moved to the Veronda-Falletti Ranch, located right across the street from Cotati City Hall. But that move proved to be logistically unfeasible because it would require key construction and rebuilding of 25 power cable locations across East Cotati Avenue, and PG&E and Comcast said they would be unable to assemble the type of staff necessary to perform the task in a timely manner.

“This is a great victory…a much better option than chopping it down,” a statement on the tree’s Facebook page said. “This tree and its progeny will be saved for future generations to enjoy and future scientists to study.”

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