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Visconsi: The Trees are Coming Down - Now What?

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Several Bainbridge Island residents have opposed a controversial shopping development planned at High School Road and Highway 305. Protesters are against cutting the 800 trees necessary to build, and have held a boycott pledge, candlelight vigils, demonstrations, and a Bainbridge High School graduate grabbed national headlines by sitting on a platform in an evergreen tree in protest.

Ohio-based developer Visconsi received approval to begin clear cutting the land earlier this month, marking the first step towards construction of a 62,000-square-foot shopping center to include a Bartell Drugs, restaurants, a Key Bank branch, and professional services and health care facilities.

Opponents claim Bainbridge has enough shopping, and the rural nature of the island is being overrun by corporate interests that threaten long term local businesses. Supporters say private property owners who comply with the legal process have the right to develop their land as they please, and more businesses drive competition, more options, and lower prices.

On August 20, the process of cutting the trees began - but the debate continues. Join us as we discuss pros and cons, as well as what happens now.

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