A couple of weeks ago, two trees that were identified by professional arborists as unsafe fell on sidewalks and on two cars in Coconut Grove. Those fallen trees were among the two dozen damaged or failing trees in the Grove’s business district that the city of Miami wants to replace as part of a major sidewalk improvement project. Critics of the project want the trees to remain as they are.
Leaving these trees alone, as critics suggest, would set up a situation for someone to eventually be hurt or killed, or for more property to be damaged. It would be irresponsible for the city not to pay heed to the scientific evidence that these trees are unsafe and cannot thrive.
The city has set aside $3 million for the sidewalk-improvement project that will allow us not only to increase the walkability of Coconut Grove, but also replace trees that have been in decline with healthy mature trees, some 30 feet high or more. Our plan would also improve the environment around the new trees to help them grow and thrive.
Preserving our precious tree canopy is one of my top priorities. Now is the Grove’s time for improvement, both functionally and aesthetically. Warren Buffett once said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
We have an opportunity to do the right thing for residents, business owners and visitors, as well as for generations of Coconut Grove families to come.
I’m asking the Coconut Grove community to support our plan, but more important, I’m asking everyone to listen to reason. The experts have spoken — in more than 34 public meetings. I appreciate the passionate responses of many of the critics, but the city’s plan is scientifically sound and balances the needs of today with those of tomorrow. Help me keep Miami green and safe.
Marc D. Sarnoff, vice chairman, Miami City Commission, Miami