"The cottonwood was also recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a finalist for its National Tree designation so maybe a city tree policy should begin with a statement recognizing the contribution of trees, in general, and the plains cottonwood, in particular?"
These are the contributions I remember:
--The visual pollution and fire hazard from tons of "cotton" deposited on every lawn in the Spring.
--Spring seed pod cleanup to get you in shape for Fall leaf raking.
--Spewing copious amounts of sap in Summer, that etches the paint on all of your cars.
--Shallow roots that buckle sidewalks, curbs and gutters, sewer and water lines, streets, etc.
--Firewood that is all ash and no heat.
--All the obvious hazards from having 8" diameter limbs hanging 60' over your head, house, car, neighbors, etc.
It's probably just me, but I don't miss them.