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Residents fight to save what's left of Boynton Still neighborhood

City project calling to pave through neighborhood
Posted at 4:20 AM, Jul 09, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Two dozen homes were demolished in an historic African American neighborhood, the Boynton Still community to make way for a city of Tallahassee project.

While damage is already done a group is fighting to save a handful of oak trees with roots stretching back hundreds of years.

"You can't cut these trees down. My mom grew up with these trees. She's 60 something years old now. But that's our community," said Loren Hubbard.

A community known for it's historic oak trees could soon have nothing to show for it.

Dozens of people, with ties going back generations, were uprooted for the FAMU connector project.

"My place was built from the ground up. We drew the plans, my wife and I, and we built it piece by piece. And literally I have found nothing that I can afford to buy," said Chief Walker.

That's why people who used to live and work here along with preservationists are fighting to save what's left.

"Take a pause for the next two months. Work with the community, work with us, work with environmental professionals to come up with a plan that saves the environment and the cultural heritage and history of this sight," said Max Epstein.

With a handful of oak trees left they're asking the city to find a route that doesn't pave through this neighborhood.

The city tells WTXL they will be planting more than 400 trees to make up for the ones being torn down.

"The 450 trees refers to all of FAMU way from South Adams street all the way to Lake Bradford," said Max Epstein.

"To remove these trees down would be a real travesty. The hundred of trees that they're going to replant are not going to replace these trees that have been here for 400 years," said Walker.

These trees a small piece of history that mean the world to those who grew up underneath them.

"Everything. Where I grew up, where I was raised, where I learned to be a good person," said Loren Hubbard.

The group plans to present their stories to city commissioners this Wednesday.

They're hope to show them that this project can still be done without tearing down what's left of the Boynton Still neighborhood.