Mental Health Auditorium dept. The Union Grove Park in Kissimmee

The city of Kissimmee has proposed a plan to replace every tree and park in the city with wooded skyrises. They expect to expand more neighborhoods and increase the population of the city. The plan was voted on last night by the City Council, a bi-partisan group that decides on city issues and ordinances, but with the vocal support of a large group of citizens.

Currently the city uses commercially grown palms trees. Before this tree replacement plan is put into effect, it would cost the city almost $3.6 million.

Gina Gillum, who runs the Beautiful Kissimmee website, has taken an active role in trying to prevent the city from replanting trees with “poisonous” palm trees. She has devoted the last several months to demonstrating to the City Council how palm trees and palm oil were linked to brain damage among the populations of people with autism and the Zika virus. She has encouraged the International Coral Reef Alliance to include palm oil production as a category in their lists of invasive species and to require hotels with palm trees in their rooms to post their concerns about their guests’ health.

The city’s current plan includes people with low-income and disabled senior citizen groups and the city’s largest minority group, the Native American voters. Only one city council member opposed the plan. They also think that the new plan is too expensive and does not provide enough jobs for the residents of the city.

The new plan would include an even broader variety of plants and trees, less cutting down of trees, and the incorporation of more equestrian trails and protected land for wildlife.