CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A drive down Ocean Drive is starting to look similar to the way it was before February's deep freeze. But that wasn't the case immediately after the brutal cold snap, because dozens of palm trees died in the prolonged frigid temperatures.
In September, a company hired by the City of Corpus Christi started planting new palm trees to replace the 108 that were lost at a cost of around $150,000.
Some residents say it was worth the money.
“I think it’s definitely important to keep the city as beautiful as possible," Amy Kondoff said.
Others were less supportive.
“I ain’t worried about no palm trees to be honest,” Leon Suarez said.
No matter what you think about palm tree replacement, the new trees got a clean bill of health Thursday. Despite a few brown patches on some trees, city leaders say all of the new trees are alive and well.
“We can say with great certainty that we haven’t lost a single one," Interim Parks and Recreation Director Dante Gonzalez said.
That's due in part to the city's secret weapon. The park operations superintendent, who's worked for the city in various capacities for 33 years, became a certified arborist two years ago.
“When it comes to trimming the trees, he is our expert," Gonzalez said. "We rely a lot on his expertise."
City workers are able to trim smaller palm trees, and the city hires an outside company to take care of the larger ones.
Gonzalez says the new palms are in good hands — which is good news to some folks.
“I would definitely say (palm trees are) a staple for Corpus Christi and something that I think of when I think of the city,” Kondoff said.