Tree Cutting in Local Cemetery Upsets Residents

Dozens of trees in a local cemetery are scheduled to be cut down. Some may call it landscaping. Others say it's desecration.

Green means go and red or pink means trim. Dozens of trees in the City of Live Oak Cemetery are marked with green ribbon. Residents are upset.

John Hale, a Live Oak resident, said, "My concern was that everything was going to be stripped out and we'd wind up with an empty cemetery. A lot of the trees that are out here were planted by individuals in remembrance of particular members of their family."

City Council President Don Boyette says Public Works is to cut down or trim trees as necessary, but even he says the high number of 75 to 100-year-old magnolia, pine, fur, and palm trees marked is out of line.

Don Boyette said, "Article nine of the cemetery ordinance states that dead, dying, or nuisance trees or trees that are creating a problem needed to be taken out or trimmed up. Well, I haven't seen that many trees that need to have anything done to them than trimmed back."

It's believed that a company contracted by Public Works wants to rid the cemetery of trees to make mowing easier for them.

John added, "Some of the trees like this magnolia are in the plot itself. When you go in there and dig that tree up, you're desecrating that grave site."

Don said, "Our plans are not to come out here and desecrate the cemetery. Our plans are to come out here and make it a more pleasing place for people to come and pay respects to their loved ones."

Calls from Eyewitness News to Public Works Director Tommy Cundiff were unanswered, but Councilman Coyette says he expect answers at the city council meeting next Tuesday.