PANAMA CITY Fla. - Another step in recovering from Hurricane Michael is planting trees. On Dec. 6, 2018 crews hoisted a 30 foot cathedral oak tree into the air to plant at the entrance of one of panama city's most historic neighborhoods.
"It's been a huge draw for decades and generations for people to have what we call is 'cove trees'," said Panama City Commissioner Jenna Haligas. Most of them were destroyed when Hurricane Michael made landfall.
Joe Littleton the owner of lawnscapes Inc. said planting this tree is symbolic of moving forward in the recovery effort. "For me particularly... It gives me hope. That we can replant, we can regrow, we can restore."
Littleton donated the tree and provided the labor to plant it. "The cove is my home it has been my whole life and the oak tree itself-it's just a sign of strength, beauty, life. And the cove is known for it's oak trees and I wanted to be the first one to plant a tree in panama city," said Littleton.
The planted oak is valued at about $9000. The tree is 15 years old and expected to double in size over the next five years. Littleton said the oak is a sturdy tree, and it withstood the winds of Hurricane Michael. "The trees that are left are live oaks. It's a very god tree to plant."
As the city continues to recover from the storm, officials took time to accept the donation. "We're still working hard everyday for sure, but this was just a gift that we unwrapped today and we're grateful that he did it," said Littleton. The city plans to plant 100,000 trees by 2025.
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