Orange Park neighbors angered after dozens of trees removed from park

·2 min read

Orange Park residents are at odds with town council members after beloved shade trees were removed from Bradley Conservation Park without much notice.

Action News Jax went out to the park and spoke with community members, and now there’s some confusion over how many trees have been cut down.

Many residents say 70 trees were taken down.

But a town council member disputes that and says it’s 27 at Bradley Park.

“Please just leaves things alone in Orange Park,” says Orange Park resident Horace Whitaker.

Whitaker lives near Bradley Park and says Orange Park leaders should’ve thought twice about removing trees from the area.

“The neighborhood is just fine the way it is,” says Whitaker

During a recent town council meeting, many residents like Whitaker were angry about the town removing so-called invasive trees from the area and not notifying residents about it.

According to town officials, some of the trees removed were China Berry trees, Chinese Tallow trees and Camphor trees.

“The property on the waterfront has literally been scraped guys,” says Chuck Linstrum.

Track: Chuck Linstrum said he was disheartened to see so many trees removed.

“By my count as of yesterday, almost 70 trees have been fell at the park,” says Linstrum.

Melanie Geester says not only do these trees have meaning for the residents here, but they also provide habitat for wildlife in the area.

“We live in a bird and tree sanctuary. Do you think it’s in the best interest of the birds and other wildlife to destroy their habitats,” says Geester.

We spoke with Orange Park town council member Alan Watt.

He says the town had legitimate reasons to take down the trees.

He even says the town plans to replace them with new trees.

“All of the trees that were taken out were either dead or invasive species that need to be removed,” says Watt.

Watt adds that the town didn’t remove 70 trees.

“There were 27 trees,” says Watt.

Now Watt adds that he believes Orange Park made the right decision, despite neighbors’ complaints, and he insists no wildlife was harmed.

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