Historic oak tree cut down in Long Beach to develop small, boutique hotel
LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - While many people spent the day outdoors celebrating nature, it was one heartbreaking Earth Day for many community members in Long Beach.
City leaders gave the green light for crews to cut a large, 300-year-old oak tree down on Jeff Davis Avenue Saturday morning.
In its place, developers aim to plant a boutique hotel instead.
Back in January, lot owner Sarah Renken told WLOX the umbrella-like tree takes up a lot of the building space.
A certified arborist familiar with all of the trees on the downtown Long Beach lot told WLOX News even though the roots might be intertwined, the surviving trees will not die.
“The root plate of the other two trees are not compromised. They will be fine,” the arborist said.
He noted that as long as the crews properly grind the stump, and the hotel contractors take care of the remaining trees during construction, “the other trees will be fine.”
An outraged crowd grew around the site as the tree came down. Some called it “inconsiderate”, while others pointed to “poor planning”.
“I actually live down the road, so I’m in walking distance,” said resident Justine Tanoury. “Whenever I walk Lokie, the tree’s always there, and now, it just won’t. It’s history. It’s going to be weird not seeing it there.”
“I’m disappointed in the city in the sense of finding a way that we both could work together instead of, you know, choosing one or the other,” resident Michael McGill stated. “I think there was a place for the hotel and the tree both to be here.”
“It’s a sad day, and we just feel like we’ve been misled,” resident Lucius Marks said. “And we’ve been really trying hard to work with people. And they just won’t work with us.”
WLOX reached out to City Alderman-at-large Donald Frazer and the mayor as well as several others involved with the project who have not returned our calls.
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