Orange Park, FL

Orange Park board recommends Bradley Park tree replanting plan

Julie Morgan

More than 30 invasive, diseased, and dying trees were removed from Bradley Park earlier this year. That resulted in Orange Park residents speaking out against the tree removal.

The Orange Park Environmental Quality board voted Thursday to replace those trees. The plan is to plant 34 trees in a two-phased approach.

Nineteen trees will be planted in phase one and another 15 in phase two. Palm, live oak, cedar, water oak, and cypress trees are on the list of trees to be planted.

However, the plan does not include a timeline for the replanting process.

The committee discussed in detail the different types of trees being planted and the replanting location. The public works director chose sites based on gaps in coverage.

One board member questioned the transparency of the process but fell short of "blaming" the town.

"If they're going to eventually dredge that tributary, are our trees going to be falling over? You got boaters trying to get in there now. Do you plan on putting a boat ramp or a kayak ramp, or a jet ski ramp because the knees of cypress can do damage? But at the same token, motorized things do not belong back there if we're trying to draw in the life of the water."

Rob Bradley Conservation Park at Nelson Point encompasses 10 acres of waterfront conservation land on Doctors Lake.

Town Manager Sarah Campbell responded, "there is no intention whatsoever of motorized boats at all."

After the board member questioned her again, Campbell reiterated the town's intent. "This park is designed as a conservation area. It's a passive park, and I don't know how many more times I can say it. We're not hiding anything, and nothing has changed," said Campbell.

Ultimately, the board approved the plan to replant more than 30 trees, 4 to 1. They also recommended that additional cypress trees be planted along the waterfront between live water oaks and the kayak ramp along the south edge.

The plan will need to be approved by the town council. The vote is only a recommendation.

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Jacksonville, FL

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