Valley family gets help removing palm trees

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 22:05:21-05

They're nice to look at, but palm trees are a hassle to maintain.

And if you don't stay on top of it they can cause some expensive problems.

Kathy Lay, of Mesa, knows all about that.

She has a backyard full of trees, including palm trees--some more than 30 feet tall.
"I call it my Garden of Eden," Kathy says. "I go there and I pray."

And this time she was looking for a miracle.  

Because her palm trees were taking over her yard and leaving a mess on her neighbor’s property. She says they file a complaint with the city.

It would cost thousands to have them removed.

But with Kathy's disability and her husband in retirement--they couldn't afford it.

Eventually those citations turned into fines. Kathy says they totaled nearly $3,000.

"We were really nervous because we didn't have any money to pay them," she says.

So they let me know. 

And volunteers with the Assistance League of Phoenix got to work.

They got the City of Mesa to agree to forgive the fines and found help to get rid of the trees.

It came in the form of the West Mesa Community Development Corporation.

The non-profit specializes in revitalizing Mesa neighborhoods by bringing in small businesses and helping homeowners bring their homes up to city code.

"Maybe they're at a point in life where they don't have the resources to do it,' says Executive Director Cynthia Dunham.

The non-profit enlists volunteers, neighbors and businesses to help clean up communities in Mesa and this project was a big one.

Volunteers spent an entire day chopping down trees, removing fronds and answering Kathy's prayers.

"It was really awesome," she says.

And while there's still work to do Kathy is just glad the big stuff is done.

"They're beautiful and all, but the maintenance on them is really hard to take care of," Kathy says.

West Mesa Community Development Corporation specifically helps residents of Mesa. They also accept tax-deductible donations to help with operations. Find out more about them here.

However if you have a palm tree and can't afford the maintenance check with your city's neighborhood services department for referrals of low cost or free help. 

You will likely have apply and meet income requirements to qualify for assistance.

Need my help or want to volunteer to help others as part of the Assistance League of Phoenix team, call us at 855-323-1515, find me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can also send me a video of your problem to or sign up for our monthly newsletter here.