Bradenton man upset county cut down 'Golden Shower' tree at courthouse

  • 1

BRADENTON, Fla. - Manatee County has been upgrading the historic courthouse and grounds in downtown Bradenton. Care has been taken to protect existing trees around the courthouse, but at least one ornamental tree has been removed.

The courthouse, built in 1903, has recently been upgraded with new windows and an improved façade. For the last few months’ work has been underway outside the courthouse to improve the landscaping.

“It is a vision for a plan with all native plants to restore it back like it might have been when the courthouse was built in 1903,” explained Kathy Blair. Blair is the executive associate for Clerk of Court Chips Shore. Shore, whose office is located inside the historic courthouse, has been driving the renovation and changes.

“You are not going to make everybody happy. There is always going to be that one person who sticks out,” said Kyle Destefano, who works in downtown Bradenton.

While Destefano likes the changes, a letter to the editor of a local paper complained because the county removed a Golden Shower ornamental tree. The tree, which has yellow flowers, was growing on the northwest corner of the block before it was removed.

ABC 7 asked residents their reaction to losing the tree.

“The courthouse in this area needed the renovation. As far as one tree is concerned I think it is worth it,” said Destefano.

“I think they should have saved it,” said Clarence McDowell adding, “They should’ve worked around it.”

“I don’t think it is that big of deal,” said Davonte Williams.

Blair told ABC 7 that the county had an arborist examine the Golden Shower tree and determined it was full of decay and needed to be removed. She said the tree will be replaced with Florida natives.

“The Clerk of the Court, Chips Shore, wanted to be a model of what an attractive native landscape can look like. Some folks feel a native landscape looks weedy. Not only can they be attractive they can reduce the need for water, fertilizer and pesticide” said Michelle Atkinson by email. Atkinson is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator for Manatee County. “Mr. Shore felt it was important for the courthouse to demonstrate a landscape that is helps conserve our natural resources.”

The renovations will be completed early next year.