Venice YMCA tree trimming angers patron

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VENICE, FLA. -- Lisa Goodson is a certified arborist who has a passion for trees.

“I do seminars at local elementary schools. I've done those for years," she says. "I just want to educate people about trees and help them understand why they are important and what they do for us.”

She gladly excepts the title of tree-hugger.

“I love trees. I know every tree here. I watch them. It is just part of what I do,” Goodson says. So when she saw staff do what she describes as extreme pruning to a row of Live Oak trees in the parking lot of the Venice YMCA where she is a member she was shocked.

“I was heartbroken. It breaks my heart to see it that way and I can't stand to see it.”

Goodson said oak trees used to provide some shade in the parking lot but not any longer.

“30 percent of the canopy is maximum of what should be removed in one pruning and we would be lucky to see 30 percent still left on the trees.”

She tells ABC7 said she tried to get the Y to stop trimming the trees so drastically and even offered to prune the trees herself.

“I immediately went inside and said please, please don’t do this and it didn’t go well,” said Goodson.

“We trim our trees annually. We like to keep the property up and looking very well,” explained communication director Mischa Kirby.

Kirby told ABC7, the Y needed to trim the oak trees after receiving complaints from members about low branches in the parking lot. In order to be good stewards of the South County Family YMCA money, instead of hiring professional arborists, members of the maintenance staff did the job tree trimming work. A project the staff does the same way every year.

“The tree trimming is done at this point and they will grow back healthy and strong,” said Kirby.

But Goodson doesn’t agree.

“They fully admit they don’t have any knowledge of tree pruning but they just do the best they can do with a pole saw,” she says.

Goodson believes the trees will never be healthy and some may even die as a result of the extreme pruning.