Neighbor fights to keep tree standing

News

DECATUR — An old tree is going to be chopped down to make room for a new hotel parking lot. A neighbor says he wants to save the tree. The developer says it’s unfortunate, but the tree has got to go. 

The neighbor says it could be more than 200-years old. He talked to a friend who’s a forestry expert and he estimates it’s at least 200-years old, but could be closer to 300. He wants to find a way to work around it.

Jeff Gibson has watched the area grow. He’s lived here for years and seen dozens of businesses sprout up.

“I just hate to see a big tree like this go by the wayside. The tree is 150-years old and potentially 350-years old.”

This property will soon be a new hotel. Before the parking lot can be put in, this tree has to go.

“I would like to see it left. There’s more value in the tree than there is in a parking lot as far as I’m concerned.”

Gibson has learned more about where the roots of the tree lie. He says it’s been through a lot.

“It’s just one of those things. I’m not against progress, but I hate to see a tree of such nature that’s stood numerous droughts, tornadoes, everything this tree’s been through and it’s still here.”

He just wants to find a way to see it stay standing, but the developer, Steve Horve, says he’s done all he can.

“Whenever I can save a tree, I always have. That tree has really bothered me because it’s such a beautiful tree.”

Horve says he’s just adding to the hub of businesses.

“We feel like there’s a need. The demographics seemed really good for a hotel location.”

He’s tried to find a way to save it.

“I even redid the site plan to see if I could save it and I couldn’t.”

He understands people don’t want to see it cut down, but he wants them to know he’s not taking them out of the community.

“I’m going to plant more trees. I’m really sorry to say I have to take the tree down.”

Horve hopes to have the hotel done by the end of the year. He says he’s checked and the tree is not a part of any historic registers.

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