Neighborhood angry with tree destruction to make way for Google - KCTV5

Neighborhood angry with tree destruction to make way for Google Fiber

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Many neighborhoods are anxious for Google Fiber to be installed, but in one Kansas City, MO, neighborhood, they're not happy about some of the work that crews hired by Google have done.

The people who live and work along 39th Street in the Volker Neighborhood were excited to welcome Google Fiber, but now they're concerned it's coming with a price they're not willing to pay.

Ted Larkin, a business owner, is not alone in his frustration.

"It looks disgusting. It looks like a bomb went off or something," he said.

Larkin is talking about all the trees that were recently cut by the Asplundh Tree Expert Company. A manager with the company said they trim "for clearance, not beautification" and said they were only following the orders given to them by engineers hired by Google.

"They butchered our trees," Shannon Wolf said.

Wolf said no one was informed of the trimming that was coming. She said she was devastated when she showed up to work and saw what had happened.

"I'm very sad this happened. I hope they take care of this problem. I feel like they vandalized 39th Street and I don't want it to happen in other neighborhoods," she said.

Jenna Wandres, a representative for Google, released the following statement after acting surprised KCTV5 was doing a story on the complaints.

"In order to hang our Fiber lines safety throughout Kansas City, we're required to trim trees back from utility poles and existing electric lines. We've hired a group of tree-trimming experts and arborists to make sure the trimming is done correctly."

"We're taking complaints from the Volker neighborhood residents and businesses seriously. We've temporarily paused trimming and we're working with a city forester to make sure the trees are still in healthy condition."

A representative for the city said it stepped in on Friday and halted the trimming project after getting a rash of "seemingly legitimate complaints" from businesses along 39th Street. The city said it's sending out its own forester to work with Google and the contractor to see what can be done.

People who live and work in the neighborhood said that's good news.

"Right now I just want to know what happened and what do we do to fix it?" asked John Duzer.

The representative for Google Fiber said several additional neighborhoods on both sides of the state line have been tapped to get the high-speed internet connection, and Google representatives said, in 50 miles of installation in Kansas City, this is the first time they've had any complaints.

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