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After brief pause, Tallahassee tears down 20 live oak trees amid concerns from neighbors

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 18:15:08-05
  • Despite neighbor's concerns, city crews tore down 20 live oak trees at the site of the old Northwood Mall.
  • It's a part of the project to build a new Tallahassee Police Department Headquarters and potential residential development off of North Monroe Street.
  • Watch the video to see why one neighbor says she feels deceived by the city.


Despite neighbors efforts, 20 live oak trees came down at the site of the future TPD headquarters.

City leaders told neighbors Monday they would review their plans to remove the trees at the old Northwood Mall.

Neighbors like Sterling Gillis woke to the sounds of them coming down Thursday morning.

Sterling Gillis said the Park Terrace Neighborhood

"It is the essence of Tallahassee," Gillis said. "You get the real feel of what it's like to live in Tallahassee in this home."

A lover of the outdoors, she walks this route behind her home every day with her dog Mooki.

Her favorite part:

"There you know 30 to 35 year old lives oaks, healthy, beautiful trees, making a great canopy," Gillis said. "It gives a great backdrop to the pond and a lot of the noise and traffic from Monroe Street right there."

When she saw the Xs painted on the trees Saturday, she said neighbors took action.

"We found out they were chopping it down and destroying it so we decided we were going to see if there was another option other than taking out these trees," Gillis said. "But as you can hear behind me, they're taking them all down."

Leaders told neighbors like Gillis on Monday that they would look into preserving the trees.

"There are no guarantees in this process but we will certainly go back to our engineers. We understand your concerns," Assistant City Attorney Wayne Tedder said.

They were slated to be removed to make room for a temporary holding pond that will eventually turn into residential development behind the new TPD headquarters.

City staff told neighbors they would speak with their engineering team.

They directed the city to remove the oaks.

"It wasn't disappointing. It was heart-breaking," Gillis said. "It gave you the feeling like they just gave you lip service."

City manager Reese Goad sent an email to city staff and leaders at 8 a m Thursday alerting them about the removal of the trees.

"It is not possible to retain the trees and also preserve an adequate amount of land for new residential dwellings in the northern parcel," Goad wrote.

Gillis said she is still disappointed, but hopes neighbors are kept in the loop when it comes to changes coming at the property.

"We're waiting to see what the plans are so maybe we can be a little more proactive and not have this situation where all the trees are getting knocked down that we loved," Gillis said.

City leaders said they will plant around 200 more trees at the site of the new TPD headquarters.

Neighbors like Gillis said they won't be the same.