East Memphis trees could be gone - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

East Memphis trees could be gone

Some of the last old growth trees in Cordova that line Berryhill Road could soon be gone, cleared like land across from Laurie Bajat's home.

Bajat remembers what it used to look like, "It was beautiful. We would see the deer hopping through the trees and it was just a lot prettier than it is now."

Because of new homes being built, Memphis engineers say traffic on Berryhill will increase necessitating the widening the road and tearing down these trees.

Developer Rusty Heyneman surprised many when he decided to fight for the trees along his new development, "This whole thing started as 'well I'll go down there and be a good samaritan.' No good deed goes unpunished, I can assure you of that."

County commissioners decided the trees could stay.

City Council members like Tajuan Stout Mitchell weren't so sure, "I've got to weigh tree love over the safety of individuals driving back and forth to work. Safety is going to win out everytime."

Council member Tom Marshall had similar concerns, "We're choosing now between safety and trees and I kind of feel you put us in that position."

Heyneman disagreed saying the previous owner clear cut the trees. In the end Heyneman lost and it looks like the trees will fall.

And perhaps to everyone's surprise Laurie Bajat is glad, she feels what's left is a pale imitation of what this area used to look like, "I'm not happy with what it looks like. It's too bare and it looks just not clean."

Hyneman says the the trees could come down by early next week. He also says he wasn't trying to save money by saving the trees. In-fact, Hyneman would have been required to take the money it would have cost to remove the trees and hand that money over to the city and county for other uses.

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