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Tree fight on the Westside

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Updated: 5/24/2010 11:23 pm
Jacksonville, Fla.-- It's a battle over trees on the Westside. Neighbors have permits for a 175, but claim the city came in and trimmed to the point, the trees were practically gone.

Trees are the lungs of the planet, a root in the ground and a shade for a community. For one westside community, the trees soften their neighborhood's appearance. But now Diane Kerr and her neighbors are mad. The city came in and cut their trees.

"This was a 16-year old plant. It's not coming back to the size and growth that I had there," said Kerr.

The tree is supposed to look like a crape myrtle. It was almost 7-feet tall and getting ready to bloom. In 1997, Kerr and several other neighbors planted 175 of the trees up and down Edison Street, using grant money. They have permits for every single tree.

"We thought it would be a great enhancement, which it has been to this neighborhood. They were beautiful," said neighbor Florestine Meeks.

But recently a complaint was made saying they obstruct the view of people turning at a stop sign.

"That's the stop sign and as you see, there is no tree," said Kerr.

"While the city recognizes the countless benefits trees and shrubs provide, it also must ensure the safety of the families traveling in the area," said a city official.  "Drivers have to be able to pull up to a stop sign and look left and right to make sure there are no cars coming."

But Kerr says it's not just a fight with the city, it's a fight to keep their neighborhood beautiful.

"We're all trying to do the best we can," said Kerr.

The area's city council representative told Kerr and Meeks the trees would be replaced by the city.  The city is also working with area residents who secured the permit for the planting to trim any remaining bushes so that visibility can be improved
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