MELBOURNE, Fla. – Controversy loomed over a plan to take down several century old oak trees in Melbourne to put in a bike path. But thanks to the rallying community and city leaders, those trees have been saved.
- Several centrury-old oak trees were slated to be cut down
- Some Melbourne residents were trying to stop the plan
- The bike path would cost over $1 million
More than a dozen neighbors are fighting back against the idea to remove the oak trees to make way for the bike path.
"Very scenic, my wife and I love it," Terry Mulreany said. "So privileged to live on this street."
Seven years ago Mulreany and his wife got the chance to buy their dream home. The property sits on oak tree lined Pineapple Drive, on the Indian River, in the Eau Gallie area of Melbourne.
"Big, live oaks," he said. "Gorgeous, trees is what makes the whole road."
Mulreany and 16 other neighbors banned together to stop the trees from being removed.
"No letters, no notification, no anything," Mulreany said.
Melbourne City Council considered installing a 2,600-foot long bike path at a cost of more than $1 million. Several trees would have been ripped out in the process.
But at a Tuesday night meeting, the city council voted 7-0 to preserve Pineapple Avenue. They will continue to seek partial state funding to fix the existing sidewalk on the west side of the street.
"It makes no sense, at the end of the day, the city should be doing better than this," said Councilman Paul Alfrey, who is adamantly opposed to the plan, calling it a “path to nowhere.”
He's puzzled why city staff and the Eau Gallie Community Redevelopment area signed off on the project.
"It's a bad project, peddled by bad information, peddled by people of influence in this area," Alfrey said.
Alfrey added that there is already a sidewalk along the street. He said the plan to cut down the old oaks is over-engineering.
"To spend that kind of money to ruin nature?" Alfrey said. "Trees over a hundred years old. The people doing this should be ashamed of themselves."
Mulreany said he wasn't giving up. He'll fight to preserve the natural, historic look of his neighborhood.
"We are all 100 percent united behind this front," he said.