Tree climbing competition moved after residents speak out - FOX10 News | WALA

Tree climbing competition moved after residents speak out

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Tensions were high over a tree climbing competition set to take place in Mobile Saturday, March 7.

Residents who live in the Washington Square Oakleigh District spoke out about tree climbers jumping and propelling from the historic oak trees in the park, afraid it would damage the trees.

"Once the damage is done you can't unring the bell. Unless you can give me a thousand percent guarantee it's not going to do damage, you can say it all you want. But once the damage is done, the damage is done, and you can't go back from there," said resident Sheridan Hinton.

Co-chair of the tree climbing competition, Billy Kelly, says the group focuses on safety first and all competitors are professional arborists.

"We have climbers from all over the southeast coming in. Eighteen competitors coming in from all aspects of life from utility to public and private residential type trimmers coming in to demonstrate their skills to move on to international," Kelly said.

Bill Hankins with the City of Mobile says the Urban Forestry Department approved the Washington Square location for the competition but only some residents were notified.

Hinton says it's not work risking it and wanted the event moved.

“I respect their professional opinion but in one sense they don't have a dog in the fight, they're not tax paying citizens of Mobile and they're here for a competition and recreation,” Hinton expressed.

The city listened to residents and moved the event from Washington Square to Bienville Square.

You can catch the tree climbers Saturday, March 7, 7:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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