Ice storm kills Church Street palms

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2014

If you haven’t noticed the palm trees outside the Church Street Cultural Arts Centre, they have met with an unfortunate demise.

Although zoned for the local area, the Queen Palms did not survive the extreme climate conditions and ice storm the area suffered in late January.

Andy Wiggins, director of planning and development for the City of Andalusia, has been in contact with the tree farm, Calusa Creek located in Stuart, Fla., where the trees were purchased.

“They were growing healthy,” Wiggins said. “We had the ice storm and it pretty much killed them.”

The trees had been trimmed back and the ones that did survive were not doing well.

After multiple exchanges with Calusa Creek on how to care for the trees and preserve them, the decision was made to remove the eyesores.

“We contacted Calusa and sent them photographs,” Wiggins said. “Their assessment was that even the ones that had green at the top of them were basically struggling to survive.

“So we made the decision to pull them all up.,” he said. “There was no danger of the trees falling, just aesthetics.”

The trees were planted after the Church Street Cultural Arts Centre was renovation was completed in 2011.

“Basically the palm trees fit the Mediterranean style architecture of the building,” Wiggins said. “There used to be palm trees down the center of Church Street.”

Wiggins is currently researching palm trees that are closer and better suited to the climate conditions of the area.

But an unusually cold winter can affect the trees’ survival.

“It’s a gamble really,” said Meredith McIntosh, a sales representative from Calusa Creek. “They’re zoned for the area, but not for freaky cold winters.”