Neighbors want to save unique tree in Chattanooga

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Neighbors are against a proposed development project that would involve cutting down a unique tree in Chattanooga.

A post oak tree, off Reads Lake Road holds many memories for June Elliott.

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“The tree means a lot to us because we played on it when we were young and we had our picnics there, ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around it, and my children grew up around there and my grandchildren did too,” Elliott said.

It sits at the Quarry, which used to be a golf course.

Now Pratt Home Builders has plans to develop the land. They applied for a permit with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Developers did not want to comment.

Nearby signs line the road to save the quarry. People against the project say the tree is 112 feet tall and it’s tallest of its kind on record in the United States. They hope it won’t be chopped down.

“Well because it is so unique. It is incomparable. It is about 200 years old we estimate it should live to be 450 and it would be a shame to cut down a tree that would be enjoyed for many generations to come,” said Bob Geier, with Friends of Mountain Creek at the Quarry.

They have a petition going around and altogether they have gathered nearly, 2,900 signatures.

“The ultimate goal of everyone who signed this petition is to conserve this land, this area and use it as it has been for many years as a recreation and outdoor area for hikers and dog walkers,” Geier said.

Sally Wencel, the president of the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones, says trees provide many services, including stormwater filtration.

“It should not be taken down to put more development in. We need to be smart with how we manage natural areas,” Wencel said.

Elliott is hopeful her family will continue to be able to enjoy this tree.

“Of course my grandchildren, my great grandchildren will get to play around that tree too someday,” Elliott said.

On Tuesday at the city council meeting, someone will be presenting findings on the state of Chattanooga’s ordinances to protect environmentally sensitive areas. They will be recommending the City Council adopt a new ordinance for this purpose to protect greenspace and trees and preserve the beauty of the city.