GULFPORT, Miss. — A 200-year-old live oak tree is at the center of a dispute between a daycare owner, the City of Gulfport and residents over whether the tree should stay or go.

Kid Academy owner Matt Dickens tells WLOX-TV he wants to expand his business and was willing to include the tree in his plans. But he says that’s changed because the tree — according to two arborists — is dying.

So far, city officials have twice denied his request to remove the tree.

City officials declined to comment on the dispute. An appeal will likely be heard by the Gulfport City Council at its meeting Sept. 5.

If Dickens is denied again, he said he’s willing to take the case to court.

Information from: WLOX-TV,

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