Crews clear trees in Empie Park to make way for new tennis courts

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Empie Park will soon be the home to a new tennis center, but some residents are upset that dozens of trees have been cut down to accommodate for the new facility.

"We are right on schedule," said Marion Doherty.  "We are building ten tennis courts, a clubhouse, and we will relocate the basketball courts."

Within the last seven days, dozens of long leaf pines have been chopped down at the park to make way for the new facilities.

Park officials said it was necessary to cut down the trees, and added about a dozen have been relocated.

"Anytime you have to build, we are building ten tennis courts, it does take up a lot of land," said Doherty.  "We did relocate as many trees as we could, but we did have to do cleaning in order to accommodate the courts."

One park visitor, who says he knows a little something about trees, says the long leafs that have been left standing will weaken or become very ill.

"They are knocked over by storms, they tend to be prone to getting all kinds of diseases," said Michael White.  "It's very much a communal tree. They more we can leave together, the better our environment will be - period."

Park officials say the new basketball courts will be the first to open.  They hope to have everything complete by April 1.

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