Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Resident Fighting Plan to Cut Down Trees

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Resident Fighting Plan to Cut Down Trees

Article excerpt

Mildred "Millie" T. Andreu may be fighting a losing battle with the Florida Department of Transportation to save hundreds of trees behind her property, but she has no intention of giving up.

Because of a problem with flooding, erosion and silt in the area of Hazelhurst and Pottsburg drives, the state plans to spend $1.2 million to improve the 1,700-foot drainage ditch running from Beach Boulevard to Pottsburg Creek, according to FDOT officials.

The ditch will be concrete, with culverts added. Also, dredging will be done along the creek to give water access to owners currently hampered by silt. Homeowners living east of the ditch will be compensated for allowing the FDOT on their property to bring in construction equipment.

Andreu, 76, of the Southside, said a lot of the oak trees marked to be removed are at least 100 years old. And eagles, ospreys, flying squirrels, redheaded woodpeckers and other species are nesting and living in the trees, she said. She said several landscapers have told her some of the oaks range from 100 years to 300 years old.

The noise and pollution from the nearby Hart Bridge ramp is also an issue, she added.

"I have lived on this for 25 years," Andreu said. "That back yard is my life. That is where I stay."

Andreu said the state has other options to control water runoff from Beach Boulevard, including adding a pipe from Beach Boulevard to East Road, then connecting into an existing drainpipe that flows into the wetlands beside the C&B Salvage Co. at 7121 Beach Blvd.

However, FDOT officials say that is not an option.

"Mrs. Andreu's problem is she doesn't want us to cut down trees, and we have to," said spokesman Mike Goldman. "What do we do? This is an extremely tough situation. We have to remove these trees to build the ditch. There is no way around it. …

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