They've been a part of every road plan, in part to allow residents to ride bikes and walk around the city, however a planned recreation trail to run along Tess Corners Drive has come under fire by residents who feel the loss of trees and the cost isn't warranted.
The matter was initially aired as part of a Committee of the Whole meeting last week, and was again discussed Monday Night at the Parks and Recreation Board meeting. The issue puts residents who supported a path because of safety concerns for people wanting to walk or ride along the road against those who feel the path still wouldn't provide safety for bikers or pedestrians.
Christine Nelson, a resident who lives on Tess Corners Drive, told the committee on April 10 the path would "give people an excuse to be in our yards, and will add to the destruction of mature trees" along the route.
Written objections came hours before the city was poised to begin the bidding process, and as 90 percent of the design work has already been done. An to gather input from residents, but overall the reaction then was positive. District 1 Alderman Tracy Snead also told residents she's had emails from other residents in that area supporting the trail as well.
Trees along the route are in the city's right of way, which means that their removal is within the city's right. Other projects, like the Woods Road trail, have had similar results, and Alderman Neil Borgman conceded, "as unpleasant as it is, the trail system has been part of the plans, and it is progress. When you make omelettes, you have to break a few eggs."
The parks board also weighed in on the issue Monday, concerned that narrowing the path from eight feet to six feet, one of the options presented by Alderman Kert Harenda, would make the path one-way.
"If you measure the width of most kids' bikes handlebars, that's nearly three feet already," said Parks Director Craig Anderson.
Member Butch Ledoux also said the elimination of the path, which some residents are suggesting, would endanger people looking to use the roadway, which is also where the is located.
"As we've seen growth in the city, there's been increased traffic on this street," he said. "I can't help but think of kids using that trail for biking, and even during trick or treat."
Council members were also unsure how the redesign would impact the current plans for the road, and Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said that should the path be taken out of the plan, and any redesigns require new public meetings, construction may be delayed as much as a year. Redesigns could run $30,000, but could provide a net savings to the project of $50,000.
As a new council is being sworn in Tuesday night, the decision to defer the matter to April 24th's Common Council meeting was made. Until then, progress is suspended on the project.