Obici site includes rare tree species

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015

To the editor:

As a retired horticulture teacher and lover of trees, I am shocked by the idea that the city  may turn the old Obici Hospital site into a strip mall and  224 apartments.

A quick inventory of the site identified an assortment of tree species, including Virginia Longleaf Pine (rare in Virginia), Kentucky Coffee Tree, Blue Atlas Cedar, Pin Oak, Darlington Oak, Willow Oak,  Southern Sugar Maple and Honey Locust, among others.

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All of these are growing in the front open site and would be subject to destruction if the EDA’s plans were implemented.

This site is the last large parcel on the Nansemond River owned by the city near downtown. All other sites with river access and views have been carelessly blocked by box stores and other businesses.

As our city planners make decisions on the Obici site, I hope their “highest and best use” will be one that does not cause traffic congestion, increase crime, take business from our downtown and destroy our trees.

Instead, let’s hope they will want to preserve the site for open space and a park that all our citizens and visitors can enjoy into the future.

Byron Carmean