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Historic Ficus Tree at Snell Park Will be Spared

Jeff Romer asked a question to The Beautification Advisory Board, and it ended up with Fort Myers native Karen Cooper marrying this tree.

Obviously, something went a miss. So, what happened?

Last January, the Fort Myers Beautification Advisory Board got a request from Jeff Romer about his responsibility for the branches of the century-old ficus tree hanging over a property he wants to buy.

The only guidance available is from the zoning committee. They advise building any structure seven feet away from the base of the tree to avoid the foundation to be damaged by the roots.

Nothing about maintaining branches hanging over his property.

The Beautification Advisory Board saw Jeff Romer’s request a different way. They saw the tree as a potential danger to the planned home and must be removed.

Once removed, Parks and Recreation department was going to replace the tree with six indigenous ones to hopefully provide the same amount of shade to the narrow park. Neighbors hated everything about it and to bring attention to their objection, Karen Cooper married the tree.

On March 27th, close to a hundred residents came to the Beautification Meeting and expressed their displeasure including Jeff who only wanted to know what his responsibilities to the tree were. The City removed the proposal for cutting down the tree and approved trimming of the branches. The trimming would allow the branches to no longer hang over the property for the next six years.

Now, to get the answers Jeff wanted, a category two and three arborist study has to be done to measure out the roots of the tree. Once known, Jeff would be able to know how much of the roots can be cut.

We reached out to the Recreation Department as to why they didn’t guide Jeff or even hire the arborist to create the guidance first before they proposed to cut down and replace the tree? We are still waiting for a response.

What other questions do what us to branch into and answered? Let us know.

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