Residents Upset City is not Removing Dangerous Trees | Environment

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Residents Upset City is not Removing Dangerous Trees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Donna Perry is outraged that a damaged tree in front of her home on city property has not been removed 13 months after the city tagged it. "It's very aggravating."

The "Xs," usually orange in color, are on trees around the city. The city of Jacksonville uses them to indicate troubled trees that need repairs or that need to be removed.

Perry is angry that the tree in front of her home, which is on city property, has been tagged for removal way too long. "Somebody's going to get hurt.  And that's my main concern."

The Perry family is one of many waiting for the city to take action. According to a city spokeswoman, as of June 28, 725 trees either needed removal or repair. 

Some are wondering why these dangerous trees are still standing, while the city is removing trees that an expert tells us, were not dangerous or damaged on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco.

Gene Bushor, an arborist for 57 years, said the city is tearing down the wrong trees, and that the trees on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco are young, and in great shape. 

"With all the 620 trees around here that are marked to come down and hurting people, it's cheaper to pay lawsuits that it is to take trees down?"

The city is spending $80,000 from the city's Tree Mitigation Fund, removing these trees, and replanting 114 new ones. 

City spokeswoman Kristen Beach did not grant an on-camera interview Tuesday or Wednesday. In an e-mail, she said fund is partly funded by developers, although she doesn't know what percentage. 

Beach did not say if that same fund is used to remove dangerous trees. "If the issue is not as pressing, the issue is addressed in the order in which it was received," she siad in the statement. 

In the meantime, Perry said her tree issue seems pressing. "The top of the tree broke off and fell off way over into our yard..."

Perry said her family has already spent a lot of money taking a tree down, on city property, at its own expense. Now, she said, it's time for the city to do its part.  

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