Letter: Don’t Remove The Palm Trees

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Wellington Village Council. A copy was sent to the Town-Crier for publication.

Dear Council Members:

I will begin by simply stating my wish. Please don’t take the palms. You know which ones I mean. I love them, plain and simple. Since I moved to Wellington in 2002, those palms have represented the regal beauty of this town; the unique paradise we inhabit; the balmy landscape I call home.

The thought of those trees being taken away — or worse yet, cut down — sickens me. In a world where our natural environment is taking constant hits from carbon emissions, development and corporate greed, I always prided the village with taking steps to be “green.” We have beautiful parks and even a LEED-certified village hall. We have outdoor spaces for children to play and trails for horses to trot. We are an ideal community situated in beautiful South Florida — there is no better place to live. Removing our palms goes against the very spirit of Wellington.

You may argue that they will be replaced, but you can’t deny the message it sends to remove healthy, majestic trees that have been maintained for years, just because it suddenly becomes a budgetary nuisance. It sends the message that natural things are to be managed, tabulated and done away with when inconvenient. Despite your best intentions, this proposal paints Wellington’s manager and council in the image of a heartless, anti-conservationist villain.

This request may seem too steeped in pathos and sentimentality. And perhaps it is, but that may not be a reason to reject it. Some of the most treasured things on this earth are entwined in those very same emotional attachments, attachments that hold them dear to our hearts. In San Francisco, it’s the mist rising over the Golden Gate Bridge. In Paris, it’s the silhouette of The Eiffel Tower. The citizens of those cities couldn’t imagine being without their icons, the distinctive features they most adore. New Yorkers felt the loss of their beloved Twin Towers so much that they beamed spotlights through the gaping holes in their skyline. In many cases, we love things for what they represent to us. They take on an heirloom-like quality. They become mythical. That’s what these trees are to the people who make our ways home along the streets they line. They are iconic. I’m not being over-dramatic when I say that, for us, their removal would be a tragedy. Cities would never willingly destroy their man-made wonders. Why would you destroy our natural ones?

It’s not enough, ladies and gentlemen, to simply cite the costs. I won’t divert my argument at this time into the recent purchases and projects that I personally feel have been a waste of taxpayer money, because my goal isn’t to critique the village’s spending. I will simply state that we, the taxpayers, want to keep these trees. Heed our plea. Maintain the palms. Find alternatives for improving drainage. Do the right thing.

Melissa Long, Wellington



  1. The 300 Washingtonia palms along Aero Club Drive and Greenbier Blvd are an iconic symbol in Wellington. They should not be removed because Councilman Matt Willhite doesn’t like them. He has for years voiced his disdain for these palms and sought their removal. His surreptious planning to remove a small sampling of the trees was, no doubt, to keep the cost under a certain amount so the removal of the trees would not appear as an item on the Village agenda. Therefore, the other council members would not have to discuss and then vote on the trees removal.

    Mr. Willhite has, once again, divided the community of Wellington. Can’t wait till his tenure on the Council is over. He is too divisive to serve this village or anywhere else for that matter. He is the symbol of hostile discourse and division in Wellington. A review of his voting record will reflect his negative posture compared to other past and present Wellington council members.

Comments are closed.