BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — For some Brevard County neighbors, their tree-lined streets are no more.
On Wednesday, crews began cutting them down. Experts say the trees are on the county right of way and their roots are starting to crack the sidewalk circling the development, creating a potential liability.
This is not what Anne Seeley-MacLeod wanted to see or hear in her Heron's Landing neighborhood Wednesday.
The first of 93 oak trees, dating back 25 years, was being cut down in the Brevard County easement of her community's homeowner's association.
"It's hurtful to all the people who live here who've enjoyed walks, and birds and squirrels and chats under these trees," Seeley-MacLeod said.
The HOA contacted the county because roots were beginning to push up some of the sidewalks, and an arborist determined dozens of the trees needed to be removed due to safety issues.
Seeley-MacLeod said she wasn't happy, but understands why the trees have to go.
"In the end, people will be safe," she said. "And the liability for the neighborhood will be less."
That goes for the county's liability too, said District Four Commissioner Curt Smith.
This on the heels of a recent lawsuit won by a woman who slipped on a cracked sidewalk in a nearby neighborhood and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Commissioner Smith says they want to avoid being responsible by being proactive.
"When they trip, they are going to sue somebody, and if the county is responsible, the county is going to get sued," Smith said.
Smith also said removing the trees at a cost of $100,000 now means more money won't have to be spent 20 years from now if the trees stay and roots do more damage.
"Down the road, those issues are still going to exist, so we just wasted $96,000 of our constituents' money," he said.
Seeley-MacLeod said residents in her neighborhood will look for options to replace their beloved trees.
"I'll get over my sadness," she said. "I don't feel like my work is done — I don't feel like our work as a neighborhood is done."
There are trees in the immediate area that will not be removed, but county officials said eventually they too may have to come down.