Homeowners at odds with city for plans to remove dozens of trees

A neighborhood in Fort Myers is reeling over plans to remove trees in order to make room for a road project.

It’s all part of the Estero Blvd project happening on Fort Myers Beach. The city says it can salvage the trees if community members are willing to foot the bill.

Of the 45 trees and plants tagged for removal off Hercules Drive, a dozen are in Maurice Kabili’s yard.

“All these years we’ve been planting trees on our own—non-stop you know year after year to the point we feel we have enough trees. And now we’re going to lose a lot of them,” Kabili said.

Fort Myers Beach is working to install new water and sewage pipes off Hercules Drive, and say the tagged trees are in the right of way—property which belongs to the city.

“We’re going to try to avoid as many trees as possible, but there’s just some trees right in the middle where the storm drain is going to go—and we’ve got to have them removed,” said project spokeswoman Kaye Molnar.

On Thursday, the city worked with homeowners to save the 45 trees and plants, but came up short because of money issues.

There’s still time for homeowners to save their trees, but the project is expected to begin soon.

“We’ll work with them. We won’t stop the project, but we’ll work with them if they have something set up and ready to go,” Molnar said.

Community members are invited to attend a walk-through Friday at 9 a.m. to talk to the city about how they might be able to salvage a few of those trees.

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
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