Sidewalk issues divide South Toledo neighborhood

Cherrylawn neighbors oppose cutting trees

A new sidewalk in the Cherrylawn neighborhood in South Toledo wouldn't just mean a divide between the street and the houses, it's also a divide between neighbors.

Nearly 100 residents packed into a neighborhood meeting Wednesday night to hear from city officials and voice their support and concerns. City leaders maintained that the only option in improving the road on Cherrylawn is to tear down trees and install a sidewalk. They said the project to repave Cherrylawn was awarded money by the Ohio Public Works Commission because the plan included sidewalk installation, and without the sidewalks, they wouldn't have the funds to fix the road.

Mayor Mike Bell addressed the issue, acknowledging that he wouldn't get the support of every resident. "I think it's appropriate give the money that we have now, realizing that if we don't do this now, at some point in time a couple of years from now, people will come back and say, 'When are you going to fix that street?'"

Fixing the streets and installing sidewalks would mean tearing down numerous trees along the one mile stretch. Some residents who have formed a coalition to protest the city's "Complete Street" plan in their neighborhood have tied yellow ribbons to their trees, and put up lawn signs. They say the city is wasting taxpayer money where changes aren't wanted.

"Where that sidewalk is coming up into my yard, it's taking up almost half my yard - so we'll have people walking closer to the homes and we'll lose driveway space, and we'll lose the beautiful trees," said Cherrylawn resident Rhonda Carr.

The city says they'll replace the trees they do remove - a promise that has some residents satisfied with new sidewalk plans.

"I walk my dog twice a day on the road, so the question of whether or not I'd be better on the side walk? Yeah, I'd be better on the sidewalk," said Cherrylawn resident Dan Markiewicz.

According to city leaders, the plan has been contracted and they're looking to begin construction within a month. The entire project is expected to take about 120 days.