Don’t Move the Rain Tree

     I’ve been waiting to weigh in on our now infamous Rain Tree debate as the controversy built, but now I think it’s time for me to give my opinion –  

                       Here’s the story

     A developer named Asi Cymbal wants to move the gigantic beauty above to make way for 1000 rental apartments, (with shops and restaurants) on the New River in Fort Lauderdale.

The Planning and Zoning Board will discuss the development application in a few weeks, and from there it goes to the City Commission for the final decision.

     The tree, just south of the river, in the 400 block of SW 4th Avenue, is an Albizia Saman – aka Rain Tree, and is the largest of its’ kind in Florida, and the species only grows in Florida and Hawaii !


     You might know the species as the home of the Swiss Family Robinson!
     Our Rain Tree hasn’t been in any movies, but it is nearly 100 years old, 60 feet high, 128 feet wide (the canopy) and has an amazing girth of 19.5 feet.

     And the tree was deemed “protected” by the City Commission way back in 1987, (Mayor Bob Cox, Jim Naugle, Doug Danziger, Carlton Moore, and Shelia Harrigan), and would take a specific vote of the current City Commission to allow it to be moved.

     The developer says he can’t build his building, the Marina Lofts, if he has to leave the tree in place. 


    [ This is a rendering of the building, the Marina Lofts. I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this looks like earthquake damage to me!]

     The developer has spent a lot of money already to prove he can successfully move the special tree, and after lots of investigation, I think it is possible. He is also willing to put up a million dollar bond that will go to the City if the tree fails (which it could). 

                          successfully moved giant tree

      And the City needs more density along the river, and I do favor more development there. 

      And the City needs to continue to grow up, and with more people come more amenities, a livelier city. And I also understand that some of the opposition to moving the tree is a subterfuge used by those that loath development, or fear their views will be blocked.

     Having said all that, I believe our champion tree, one of a kind, is too important to risk, and should be left alone! The City Commission in 1987 had it right – let their decision stand.

     The City should try and help the developer find a creative way to build the building but leave the tree in its’ 100 year old birthplace.

                                             let the tree be !


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