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Controversy surrounding possible removal of trees from Downtown Phoenix's Renaissance Square

Tall shade trees are set to be torn down in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, and replaced with date palms, according to one group.

The trees in question are in the Renaissance Square area, and provide shade to people enjoying the outdoors, or getting a bite to eat. According to local sustainability advocate Stacey Champion, the trees are set to be torn down on Saturday, and possibly replaced with date palms.

"I've heard from someone this morning that tenants have been told that the trees may have a fungus, and that's the reason why," said Champion.

Champion has since started a petition for a call to action. So far, more than 1,000 people have signed it.

"Should tell everyone involved, including the property managers and the new owner of this building, that Phoenix residents absolutely care about trees and love trees, and we need more shade, not less," said Champion.

Champion and other advocates have had no response from the property owner. The company also did not return phone calls made by FOX 10.

In a place like Downtown, where's there's a lot of concrete, large shade trees can make a huge difference on the cooling effect.

"I hope that they'll consider if they have to replace the trees because of failure, to put in trees that can replace, within a short amount of time, the amount of shade these trees provided, which unfortunately palm trees would not do," said Aimee Williamson, Executive Director with Trees Matter.

It is unsure if the trees will be torn down tomorrow -- if at all, but the group said they will be keeping a close eye on the issue, and even keep the petition up and running.

Save the trees petition at Change.org
https://www.change.org/p/city-of-phoenix-leaders-elected-officials-and-save-the-trees-at-renaissance-square-in-downtown-phoenix/nftexp/ex20/v4/6722937?recruiter=6722937&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_content=ex20%3Av4