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El Portal

El Portal mayor opposes oak tree at Village Hall

 

Special to the Miami Herald

An oak tree that could soon be planted near El Portal’s Village Hall has become a concern for Mayor Daisy Black.

Earlier this year, El Portal council members agreed planting a 200-gallon southern live oak tree on the traffic circle in front of Village Hall, 500 NE 87th St.

The tree will be planted at the entryway into the village and will cost $800 plus $200 for delivery and installation, said Village Manager Jason Walker.

However, in what the tree can add as far as aesthetics is actually a bad idea and costly, says Black.

“I am against the tree being planned in the circle because it will obstruct traffic when it grows above the ground and the roots will break up the pavement in the streets,” she wrote in an email.

Black also added that the tree could be an issue with electrical wiring. But Audley Russell of Rising Sun Electric, electrical contractor, said it wouldn’t damage any of the surroundings.

“Based on my experience I personally don’t think planting a tree in the circle area would cost any future damage to the existing electric in the circle,” Russell wrote in a letter to Walker. “All wires are in pvc conduit and the base of the fixtures surrounded with concrete, so as long as there is no damage done when the tree is planted you should be fine.”

Instead, Black is proposing a piece of artwork in the circle such as a peacock statue by an artist in Coconut Grove. El Portal is home to several species of birds including a large population of Peacocks. The village is also a bird sanctuary.

“It costs us about $300 to trim each tree and we still have at least 20 trees that need trimming, so to add another to our taxpayers is not a good idea,” the mayor said. “We can use the money for police equipment to protect our residents.”

The statue could cost about $5,000 said Black. She said that applying for a county grant for "art in public places" could pay for it.

But a majority of the Village Council already has approved the tree.

No word when the tree will be planted.

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