AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — There’s dirt where four trees once stood in the Augusta Common, city leaders saying they didn’t know about it until the complaints started.
“Asking me what happened to the four trees, I responded back I didn’t know, this is the first I heard, I don’t like getting news like that,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.
Back in March, commissioners backed away from a proposal to remove the trees from the common after an outcry from residents. Now, four trees are taken down with no vote or even notice from city leaders.
“Absolutely not, they gave us no forewarning at all, give a surprise, but nothing is a surprise anymore,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
The trees were just outside the special events office at the Common and were taken down at the direction of the Recreation Director for safety reasons, saying they blocked the sight lines for employees entering and leaving the office.
“When they go to that facility, they need to be able to see what they’re walking into, with those trees and the canopy, there it quells the illumination of the lights, also you have no sight,” Director Maurice McDowell told city commissioners.
“There shouldn’t be any tree cutting down unless the tree commission is aware of it, and even the commissioners know about this,” said Commissioner McKnight.
But some were fine with the Recreation Department’s decision.
“If we’re to the point where we’re making decisions about what trees to keep and what trees to get rid of, I think we’re missing the point of what our job actually is,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
But it’s trees now missing from the Common.