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Monday, May 2, 2016

Tree house comes down

Thursday, May 7, 2009

(Photo)
The destruction of the Shackleford tree house in Hidden Valley begins. The structure had to be torn down due to zoning issues with the city of Highland. Photo/Tammy Curtis
For the neighborhood kids the Shackleford's tree house represented many childhood dreams and a lot of fun times with friends. On Saturday, Brian Shackleford was given a special release from a treatment center to come home and tear down the tree house that he and his children had worked so hard to build.

According to Highland City Council, the tree house was not up to code for the city of Highland and according to an ordinance, was too close to the road and posed a safety hazard. Since the tree house was built within a tree, it was impossible to move and the Shacklefords were forced to tear it down. Melissa Shackleford said the letter received from the city council said that the structure had to be at least 25 feet from the right of way. City attorney Jon Abele told the Shacklefords to measure from the center of the road. This distance was 35 feet from Terry Shackleford's measurement, although the other measurement by a representative of the city fell less than the 25 feet required.

Melissa Shackleford said that although she had 10 days to file an appeal, the legal verbage contained within the letter was very confusing to the average person and required a lot of paperwork for which she did not have access, since she did not hold the title to the home or land and was buying it from an individual.

She further stated that the letter took a day to get there and when she inquired about the paperwork for the appeal, she was told that they didn't have the forms in the office and could get them the next day. This immediately took her opportunity for appeal down to eight days. This, coupled with the breakup of their lives due to her husband's recent arrest and subsequent treatment, made it nearly impossible for the family to be present at the required meetings and to "jump through the hoops they wanted," she said.

The attractive tree house with a green roof sat at the edge of the Shackleford's fenced property and was a play haven for neighborhood children.

In the dreary rain, Brian Shackleford and four boys who had stayed overnight to help with the destruction began the process of tearing down the kid's play area. Eli Sisco, Tristin Wiles, Zachary Cooper and Jacob Sisco worked together with hammers and crow bars in an effort to satisfy City Hall with the destruction of the tree house.

Nursing her daughter Gracie's injured hand, Melissa Shackleford said, "The kids have got hurt more tearing it down than they ever did while it was up." The structure was so well built that the use of a four-wheel drive truck was needed to pull a portion of it to the ground.

"This is the only place my kids had to play." Brian Shackleford said referring to the very small size of their yard with only one tree on which to build the house. He sadly recalled building the house and adding onto it for the children. He spoke of the things that his son and daughter told him after the destruction.

"To my son, that tree house was a space ship that could take him to the moon, a ship to play pirates and fight Thor; and to my daughter, it was her castle, where she was the princess ... that just broke my heart." To these kids, it is obvious that this was far more than a structure housed in a tree.

While the structure is not completely torn down due to the continuous rain over the weekend, a large portion of the children's play area lies in wet ruins beneath the strong tree where it once stood. Melissa Shackleford said, "I just hope it makes Highland a better place now that there is one less tree house and now people won't be offended when driving by." The sadness could be felt throughout the family as the Shackleford's son Eli said, "It made me so sad when we had to tear it down."


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Bad grapes to the City of Highland for being such an a** in this situation. I hope someone finds something wrong in their yards and they have to get it torn down.

-- Posted by rebelman on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 2:04 PM

I wished that I had known Melissa had needed help with her appeal. I would have enjoying ripping the Council a new butthole. Shame on the City of Highland for being so pissy because they have neither the aptitude or the wherewithall to tackle REAL ISSUES except for tearing down little kids' treehouses. This is an embarrassment to the entire Spring River area. I'm disgusted.

-- Posted by conventional1 on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 2:27 PM

What a Shame !!!! In this day and time..

-- Posted by sloozie on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 2:35 PM

Shame on you city council of Highland. Hope you are all extremely proud of yourselves. I refuse to pick on one person as i do believe is was a joint effort. Cant believe you picked on some kids. Why dont you clean up on the highway where Conley Ford was that is the biggest sore thumb and disgusting area to your city.

-- Posted by emhjr on Thu, May 7, 2009, at 3:47 PM

Why go after the kids. When the city has old buildings that should have been taken down along time ago(IE, on Pontiac). The city is not afraid to push kids around.

-- Posted by visitor1 on Fri, May 8, 2009, at 12:08 PM

Stories like these make me think twice about returning back home to retire.

-- Posted by formersharpcountygirl on Fri, May 8, 2009, at 8:58 PM

Stories like these make me think twice about returning back home to retire.

-- Posted by formersharpcountygirl on Fri, May 8, 2009, at 9:07 PM

I can't believe this! It's just so incredibly wrong to do this!

-- Posted by blessedmama on Sat, May 9, 2009, at 2:40 AM

I can't seem to find the correct words to address all you readers of this sorry Highland bunch. I not only think these few rejects should be forced out of office but the people who allow it to happen in the first place, or look the other way, need to be relocated to the land-field/garbage dump. They would fit in very well there. I wonder what should be the subject at the Highland churches this Sunday? It would be nice to see this on Fox News/ The Factor, etc.

-- Posted by noneedtoknow on Sat, May 9, 2009, at 9:57 AM

Highland is a mere extension of Cherokee Village, the council members are the newest old farts with nothing better to do than pick on kids having good clean fun! Each and every member of Highland city council should be ashamed of themselves. I could not face myself in the mirror if I knew I'd been a part of such a fiasco. What a pity that they have to demonstrate their power by picking on children. You're all sorry excuses for public officials! You have brought public shame to the city of Highland. Jerks!

-- Posted by she-mouth of the south on Sun, May 10, 2009, at 1:58 AM

I can't seem to find the correct words to address all you readers of this sorry Highland bunch. I not only think these few rejects should be forced out of office but the people who allow it to happen in the first place, or look the other way, need to be relocated to the land-field/garbage dump. There they would fit in very well with other maggots of their own kind. I wonder what should be the subject at the Highland churches this Sunday? It would be nice to see this on Fox News/ The Factor.

-- Posted by noneedtoknow on Sun, May 10, 2009, at 8:10 AM

Remember this come election time. You can use 'REMEMBER THE TREEHOUSE" as the battle cry for removing them from office.

-- Posted by troutman on Sun, May 10, 2009, at 11:14 AM

Wonder who will be the next victims in this backwards county? When is all this other trash gonna get picked up before there`s a fire hazard all over the place? Just another reason to get outa Dodge!

-- Posted by keborne on Mon, May 11, 2009, at 8:00 AM

These are the same people that would not support the kids ball parks in Highland. now nwe have to go to Ash Flat. How are they going to mess with next, the scool or the church

-- Posted by visitor1 on Wed, May 13, 2009, at 12:16 PM

I can only think what those children think of the people that wanted their tree house gone.

It is so sad. I hope the city council is very

happy to have done such a thing.

-- Posted by JUST FOR YOU on Thu, May 14, 2009, at 8:49 AM

I am very Happy to see that Highland is doing their Job right. These are Drug people that we do not need in our comunity, they was cooking Meth and would send kids out to the tree house when they cooked. I can not believe that you in our comunity would want to help or allow this to go on, do you not care about the children if the cooking of meth went bad the whole place would be blowed up including the tree house and the kids. you say they are wrong, I think they are doing a very good job and they are trying to get the drugs and drug people out of here.

-- Posted by latrisha on Fri, May 15, 2009, at 8:52 PM


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