Pierceton neighbors protest sidewalk project that would remove mature trees

PIERCETON, Ind.-- Some neighbors in Pierceton are pushing back against plans to install a walkway on residential road near the elementary school. The outrage is over about a dozen mature trees that would be sacrificed for the project.

"A six-foot wide walkway, that goes into most people's really private area. We were not asked, we were not consulted, we were told. And as a homeowner, I don't appreciate that," said Audrey Montague, who lives on Third Street.

The sidewalk will be six feet wide in order to be wheelchair and handicap accessible, but some neighbors argue it doesn't need to come at the cost of trees.

"Why can't we put in curbs, why can't we repair what's already here why can't we widen the existing sidewalks to make them wheelchair accessible?" Montague said.

For homeowners, a 6 foot wide walkway means their yard will get cut off, and everything in the way of the pass will be paved over.

Neighbor Kim Rose said even if they plant new trees to replace the old, they will not grow back to the size they were in her lifetime.

"This house is over 100 years old. They were planted with the house," Rose said.

Not to mention, neighbors say the road floods every time it rains. One house on third Street had a pump going from the basement of the home to the street drain. Neighbors say, frogs, are often found in the puddles formed near the drains..

Now, neighbors worry that removing trees will only make the flooding worse.

Rose said she feels the town is moving forward with the plan without considering the perspective of the people living on the road.

"Walk down third street, talk to the people. No one on third street wants it, nobody around third street wants it," Rose said.

ABC57 did speak with one neighbor who is fine with the project, Georgia Tenney, saying she has fallen on the town's unkempt sidewalks.

"It's okay, I'm okay with it. This sidewalk will let me walk down to the school, down the road to seventh street, over to the park and on the trail," Tenney said.

Funding for the Pierceton sidewalk project is coming from the town's unused COVID-19 emergency funds along with a grant the town must match from the Indiana office of community and rural affairs, Hozier, and during legacy program.

Town Council President Glenn Hall told ABC57 that flooding concerns will be addressed in the design of the sidewalk.

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