BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Some Biloxi residents feel like city leaders aren't doing a very good job of protecting their protected trees. That's why a public workshop was held Tuesday afternoon at city hall.
The goal was for the city to not have to choose between economic development and saving the trees. A retired Biloxi school teacher says it's as simple as a second grade science lesson.
“Photosynthesis produces the oxygen on the earth. An oak tree puts out enough oxygen for four people, but those great big old oaks, they must put out enough oxygen for six people,” said a teacher.
Residents and city leaders agree, the beautiful century old oaks give Biloxi character, but why can't a designated tree city do more to save the oaks?
“Look at prosperous communities and see that prosperous communities put the trees first,” said a resident.
With commercial development comes land excavation, but citizens feel that the city is making too many exceptions for developers when it comes to getting rid of trees. That's why a group of citizens wants to start a tree committee.
“Look at the previous Walmart that closed down. They cut down all those trees. Now they've gone out of business at that site. Now boom, we just have a big parking lot and we don't have those trees,” said a concerned citizen.
Not everyone agrees that a committee is the way to go.
“A tree committee is just going to be a third party. It's just going to cause problems, and it's going to kill any economic growth the City of Biloxi has, “said a Biloxi property owner.
Council president, Kenny Glavan is happy to see citizens so passionate about the city protecting trees. He believes they can be saved and economic development can continue to flourish.
“I've seen other communities where there's a tremendous amount of development and their trees are still preserved and it actually makes it a more beautiful city. It makes it more appealing for developers and future development,” said Glavan.
The council did not vote on whether or not to develop a new tree committee. Councilman Glavan says it will be taken under consideration.