The issue of whether to remove decades-old trees from the Manheim Park neighborhood reached a fever pitch, with residents on both sides speaking out.
A small yet passionate group of protestors tied themselves to the tree near 44th Street and Forest Avenue in opposition to the city's plan to cut it down.
"It's bigger than us loving trees. It's an impact on the neighborhood in a very large way that hasn't been looked at," protestor Franny Knight said.
It's a debate that has heated up for weeks after the city moved forward with plans to cut down healthy trees in order to repair the broken, buckling sidewalks caused by the massive tree roots. Dorothy Hawkins has lived in the neighborhood since the 1970s and questions the timing of the tree removal project.
"I've seen huge trees fall out of the ground and lay there for a year and the city not do a thing about it. So it's just interesting to me that now they can come through and remove these trees so rapidly," Hawkins said.
But former Neighborhood Association President Rodney Knott disagrees, citing the deteriorating conditions he sees every day.
"There are a number of elderly folks in this neighborhood. There are a couple of apartment complexes that house disabled folks. They should have the ability to be able to walk and have accessible neighborhoods," Knott said, pointing to the face that the buckling sidewalks can be cause for tripping concerns.
Knott said the protests don't reflect the views of all Manheim Park residents.
"I think it's really important that the people in this neighborhood are heard," he said.
And they soon will be. Late Thursday afternoon, the city announced it will have a meeting with neighbors the following day.
"We'd like to talk to the residents and give them some more information on the sidewalk work that we're going to be doing over here," Sean Demory, with Kansas City Public Works, said.
The meeting will be at the Green Impact Zone at 46th Street and The Paseo between 3 and 5 p.m. Friday.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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