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LAKE WYLIE, S.C. -- The old Waterside Market place has been an eyesore for years. It is a long, empty strip mall that sits on Route 49 just past the Buster Boyd Bridge on the South Carolina side of Lake Wylie.

While residents are glad something is finally happening with the mall, it is what has happened to 17 mature cherry trees on the public right-of-way that has many of them outraged.

Where those trees once stood are now only ugly traces of roots. The trees were cut down late last month.

When he first heard about it, York County Council member Bruce Henderson - who represents Lake Wylie - said he couldn't believe it.

The first thing I thought was 'what a void,' he said.

The trees were cut down as part of the construction of a new gas station that will be in front of the mall.

I honestly believe that it was pretty much an oversight that shouldn't have happened, said Henderson.

Currently, there is no county ordinance to prevent cutting down trees along a right-of-way and that is something Henderson said he will try to remedy.

I will be introducing something to prevent this from happening again, he said.

The redevelopment of the mall will bring new tax dollars and is welcomed by other small businesses nearby like The BBQ Pit where owner Mark Cieslikowski hopes it will help draw more customers to the area.

It is going to bring business back down to this area and you got the people coming over the bridge and it is a place for them to go, said Cieslikowski.

But there is still concern among the residents who say the mall is good, but they will miss the trees.

It has been an eyesore and it is going to be great to have something there but I think they should have left the trees.

There are plans for some new willow oaks and crape myrtles but at this point, no cherry trees.

The York Development group sold the property for the gas station. NewsChannel 36 was unable to reach them for comment.

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