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Downtown St. Pete Kapok tree-cutting rumors are not true

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Put the chains away. The Kapok tree in front of the St. Pete Museum of Fine Arts is not coming down.

A rumor surfaced over the weekend that the giant Kapok tree in front of the museum where generations of children have climbed along St. Pete’s Beach Drive was going to be removed to make way for an addition to the museum.

According to Susan Robertson, MFA’s marketing director, there are no plans whatsoever to expand.

“Somebody started a rumor,” she said. “And it created a huge uproar.”

Robertson took to Facebook to dispel the rumor.

“We recently conducted a survey to figure out the life expectancy of the Kapok which revealed that aside from any catastrophe the tree is expected to live another 50 years,” Robertson wrote. “There is a lot going on downtown with the pier and waterfront master plan, and any changes to the south side of our building will incorporate the Kapok in the scheme.”

A post on activist Bill Bucolo’s Facebook page drew dozens of comments demanding the tree not be cut down. One commenter even said she’d chain herself to the tree.

“Planted by on our grounds to commemorate the first location of the Art Center, it is a part of us,” a post on the Museum of Fine Arts Facebook page read.

The Kapok tree stays.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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