The city is collecting $100 donations to raise money to replace a large ficus tree at the Cultural Plaza that was cut down by city employees through a misunderstanding just after Christmas.
Commissioner Andy Amoroso said the city has already received $100 donations that will be recognized with bricks bearing the names of either the donors or their relatives.
Donor bricks will be placed in a circular pattern around the base of the tree that will replace the decades-old ficus that once shaded the south end of the Cultural Plaza near Lake Avenue.
The city also has applied for a $1,000 grant from Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful for the tree-replacement project.
City Manager Michael Bornstein said it could cost $20,000 or more to replace the ficus tree, one of several trees that are surrounded by concrete benches at the Cultural Plaza just east of the Lake Worth Public Library.
The city’s grounds maintenance supervisor and horticulturist were given unpaid suspensions and extensions of their probationary periods after they claimed responsibility for cutting down the tree, citing concerns that the tree had dead trunk wood and dead bark and could have been a public safety hazard.
The city’s Tree Board will recommend the type and size of tree to replant at the Cultural Plaza. The board’s recommendation must be approved by the city commission before the tree is replaced.
Bornstein said donations for the tree-replacement project are tax-deductible.
“All we know right now is that we need a lot of money to do this,” Bornstein said.
Paver brick donation forms are available from the city manager’s office at city hall.