Some Verandah neighbors working to stop tree removal for possible pickleball courts

Published: August 12, 2021 10:24 PM EDT
Updated: August 13, 2021 2:28 PM EDT

Concerns are growing among some residents in a Southwest Florida neighborhood over beloved trees ahead of a potential recreation project.

The neighbors say they are hearing rumors a pickleball court is set to be constructed at the Verandah community in Lee County, and some community members there are concerned for tree removal.

They are marking trees with yellow tags. The idea came from the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.” Just like how the song goes, neighbors hope the developers in this neighborhood see yellow ties and know the neighbors want these trees.

For hundreds of years, oak trees have watched the world change around them. Cris Carlin wants to tell you the oaks in his community will be around for 100 more years, but he fears their lives will be cut short soon.

“We found out through some residents that all of the trees behind me are targeted to be removed, to make room for either tennis or pickleball courts,” Carlin said. “Rumor has it it’s pickle ball courts.”

Carlin says he didn’t move to the Verandah neighborhood for pickleball courts. He moved to the community for the trees and for the escape that comes with being around nature.

“You can actually get a real feel for living in a country even though it’s pretty much still civilization, but it’s got a great feel,” Carlins aid. “It’s warm. It’s inviting.”

Carlin isn’t alone. His neighbors have been emailing and calling us. They’ve told us they don’t want any courts, but they worry their wants won’t matter.

Already, the first stages of demolition are present at Verandah.

“One of my neighbors told me that it was marked, and I came over and noticed that they were orange silt fence markers,” Carlin said. “So any day now, they can come put the silt fence up and come knock these down.”

Carlin told us many of the neighbors have tried to reach out to the builders of the Verandah but have not heard back. We also reached out to the neighborhood office, but no one has responded to us yet.

“To take them down in an afternoon, it’s just a sin,” Carlin said.