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Endeavour: Nearly 400 trees to be axed for space shuttle

Nearly 400 trees will be cut down in Inglewood and South L.A. to make room for the space shuttle Endeavour as it rolls through the streets of Los Angeles.

The California Science Center received final approval Monday to chop down 265 trees, bringing the total to nearly 400.

To garner residents' support, the center sweetened the deal at the last minute and agreed to replant four times as many trees, repair additional sidewalks, and offer scholarships and job training.

FULL COVERAGE: Space shuttle endeavour

"While we sincerely regret the loss of many majestic trees which have aided this community for decades, what we accomplished through this agreement is a greener South L.A. for the health of our community, as well as educational opportunities at the Science Center for generations to come," said a statement released through the Neighborhood Council groups' attorney, Gideon Kracov.

The 12-mile route where the trees will be cut runs from Los Angeles International Airport to the shuttle's permanent home in Exposition Park. (Of those, 119 trees are in South Los Angeles, 124 are in Westchester, 128 are in Inglewood and the rest are near LAX).

Community members packed the Board of Public Works meeting at City Hall on Monday morning to voice their concerns. Some residents said they felt slighted and left with few options.

PHOTOS: Space Shuttle Endeavour

"I'm tired of people coming to our community and doing things behind our backs and then at the last minute inviting us to the meetings and it's already too late," Ayana McCowen, 39, said to a boisterous crowd. "This is an injustice to me and my community."

In addition to the extra trees, the agreement calls for larger trees to be planted, $400,000 toward tree trimming, and up to five years of tree maintenance. The California Science Center also agreed to provide at least 10 scholarships to area students, pay $100,000 to an education fund and train local teachers in science.

Local youths will be hired to perform at least half of the tree maintenance. Tree removal in Los Angeles could begin as early as next week in anticipation of a two-day parade from LAX to the California Science Center that will begin Oct. 12.

Although the parade is still on track, NASA officials pushed Endeavour's grand homecoming to Los Angeles back a day to Friday.

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-- Angel Jennings

 
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