The four live oak trees in front of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at the courthouse annex in downtown Beaumont have been there for more than 30 years, but their time may be coming to an end.
Jefferson County Commissioners will vote Monday on whether or not to remove the trees. Commissioner Eddie Arnold says over the past couple years the trees have dried out the soil, causing significant problems to the foundation on the west side of the building. Arnold says estimated costs to repair the foundation range from $500,000 to $1 million, but engineers say the issue may fix itself if the trees are removed.
In an email sent to the county last week, Beaumont consulting engineer Terry Shipman wrote, "I have witnessed a number of times that after trees were removed the problem self corrected. It might not completely self correct but it will to a certain degree... It will take a year or more for that to happen."
Shipman went on to say that removing the trees "will cost the county little to nothing to accomplish."
Intrigued by the recommendation, Arnold said "I hate to take trees out from anywhere, but if it will save the taxpayers half a million to a million dollars, it will be money well spent."
Those who work at the building say people rarely use the trees for shade, but would be sad to see them go.