Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Saturday, October 12, 2013
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Park closed for tree check-up

The children's park at Higgs Beach will remain closed at least through Tuesday, after a large tree branch fell and brushed a small child there last week.

Monroe County officials plan to have arborists from two companies inspect the Australian pine trees Tuesday to determine how many, if any, of the dozen pines can be saved or should be removed. One of the trees appears to be "hollowed out from carpenter ants," Public Works Director Kevin Wilson said.

The park was closed in an abundance of caution, Wilson said.

"We don't want anybody to get hurt," Wilson said.

The tree branch that brushed the child was an estimated 12-feet long and weighed 75 pounds, Wilson said.

The county wants to save the pines if possible, as they provide welcome natural shade for visitors and the new playground equipment, Wilson and County Commissioner Heather Carruthers said.

"The pines have a natural grace and provide shade, but we can't have something dangerous," said Carruthers, who represents the Higgs Beach area on the County Commission. "We are working on a solution."

The county installed several new swings and other playground equipment in the park last year.

tohara@keysnews.com

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