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FCN gets city to clear tree from school zone sign

6:24 AM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A potentially dangerous issue near Central Riverside Elementary School is now resolved thanks to a viewer who alerted First Coast News.

Allen Dunn, a Riverside resident, e-mailed us about a palm tree that had overgrown to the point it was covering a school zone speed limit sign.

"Oh, it's more than hidden. It's completely covered. I mean, it really took me searching to find the sign," Dunn said.

The sign sits on city property in the 2500 block of Ernest Street and requires drivers to go 15 miles per hour between 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. and 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

The lower speed limit is a safety precaution because those are times of day when children might be present.

But Dunn's e-mail pointed out that palm leaves from the tree almost completely concealed the sign to oncoming drivers.

His concern is they would not know they were in a school zone.

"There's a whole bunch of scenarios that I could think of that could be pretty bad," he said.

Dunn himself didn't know the sign existed even after going down Ernest St. for about three months.

"I kind of questioned myself, 'Is there really a school zone sign there?'" he said.

Turns out, he's not the only one with concerns about the sign.

Clifford Battles has a son who goes to kindergarten at Central Riverside Elementary School.

"It's always covered," Battles said.

Battles said the sign concerned him so much he chose to walk his son to school every day.

"Even with the crossing guard, I walk him almost to school to get to the crossing guard near the school because people zip through here all the time," Battles said.

Dunn e-mailed school and city officials about his concerns, but he says he heard nothing back.

That's when he connected with First Coast News, who called the city and alerted officials about the hidden sign.

A spokesperson in the mayor's office confirmed a crew would be out Tuesday to trim the palm tree.

First Coast News followed up on Wednesday morning and found it had been trimmed. In fact, the cut down palm leaves were still on the grass.

On Wednesday morning, Dunn told First Coast he is happy and relieved the sign is visible again.

If you see a similar issue, the city encourages you to report it at (904) 630-CITY.

A spokesperson says the city tries to maintain all of its trees, but admits it cannot be on all of them all the time.

First Coast News

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