Frisco homeowner angry about tree removal at school site

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on July 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 26 at 10:48 PM

Nichols Elementary School

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FRISCO — Some Frisco homeowners are blasting the school district for tearing down dozens of old trees on what used to be a family farm.

But school officials say they did nothing wrong, and will plant even more trees than they toppled.

Dave Eagleston said he couldn't believe what he was seeing — construction workers building the new Nichols Elementary, ripping down a row of old, tall trees. So he grabbed his cell phone and shot some video.

"This was the closest thing we had to a park, and now they're being cut down and hauled off as quickly as they can do it," he said.

The Frisco homeowner said he went home and called the construction company, the city, and the school district. He was told that the hackberry trees are not protected by Frisco's tree guidelines.

"It will take 50 to 60 years for those trees to grow," said a frustrated Eagleston.

Frisco city officials showed us the permit they issued the school district on June 21 to tear down the trees and transplant others, including 21 cedar elms. School officials say they'll plant more new trees than the dozens they took down.

"We are very sensitive to their concerns, but we do everything the way we're supposed to," said Frisco ISD spokeswoman Shana McKay-Wortham.

A Frisco arborist who examined the trees before they were cut down determined most of them were diseased and rotting.

Eagleston doesn't buy that explanation. He says the old trees seemed to be doing just fine until they became the victims of progress.

"They're big into recycling and concerned with homeowners taking care of their property," he said, "but no one did anything when it came to something major like this."

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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