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Residents Angry Sidewalk Project Cuts Down Trees

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jason Allen
Jason came to North Texas after working as a reporter for four y...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth is going from a street widening project, to street narrowing, after contractors cut the roots off trees that residents had worked for years to preserve. The city is hoping it can replace soil and that the trees will survive, but residents said a city arborist had already said it was unlikely.

A large pecan tree and two maple trees were damaged in the construction on Avalon Ct. in east Fort Worth. Residents there had successfully used a series of meetings and a petition to stop a plan for sidewalks that would have threatened the trees. They said they were never informed the street widening presented a similar danger.

“I went to the meeting, I did the work, I did,” said Amy Milenkov in front of her home Monday. “And I engaged in the progress, and it didn’t matter.”

Milenkov led an effort to stop the sidewalk project, part of a 2008 plan that included new utilities and concrete paving. The city granted the request. The excavation started for the new street though last week, taking it from 26 to 28 feet wide. The new width ran right up against trees and bushes on both sides of the road, shearing off roots. The city stopped the excavation, telling CBS 11 News it now plans to replace the top soil, hoping that the roots will grow back.

Residents expressed additional frustrations with the project including impassable roads, a lack of notice for closures, trash and unfinished work. Resident Latoya Polk has a large hole in her backyard that crews dug months ago for utility work. She has it covered with a few pieces of plywood to try to keep her kids out of it.

“I’ve been calling from the beginning,” she said. “But I kind of gave up.”

The project is one of three separate projects in the area, due to be finished by the end of May.

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