Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
Residents of Dogwood Lane in North Fort Worth say their street and sidewalks are in need of repair, but will that mean tearing out neighborhood trees that are uprooting the infrastructure?
Some north Fort Worth residents say they are unhappy that a project to repair streets and sidewalks also threatens the neighborhood's shade trees.
Dogwood Lane near Basswood Boulevard needs repairs, but resident Fred Engelhardt said he has mixed feelings about the project.
He said improvements to the street and new driveway approaches, sidewalks and curbing would be nice if the project did not also destroy the trees.
Engelhardt, a resident since 1991, and other neighbors said the trees are partly what brought them to the neighborhood.
"It sure would look strange without the trees," Wes Simpson said. "Whatever the city thinks, I guess. Surely they made a study about it. I hate to see them go."
Engelhardt hated the idea so much, he shot off an email to Councilman Danny Scarth's office Monday afternoon after a city work told him about the possibility. Scarth's office replied shortly thereafter to say that each homeowner would be able to meet with a project manager to discuss the trees in front of their homes.
Scarth told NBC 5 that if the city arborist says the trees can survive and get in the way of the construction, it would be up to each homeowner to decide whether to keep the trees or get the new sidewalks.
"We all love big trees, and it's difficult to balance those things out sometimes, with access on the street and saving big trees," Scarth said.
Scarth said the city makes every effort to work with residents to keep their neighborhoods looking the same through improvement projects and inform them well in advance. But in some cases -- such as this project -- almost no one showed up to the public meeting, he said.
"Until it truly feels like it's going to impact you personally, they just don't get involved," Scarth said.
Engelhardt is contacting all of his neighbors in hopes they all agree with his stance.
"Why can't we do without sidewalks and keep our trees?" he said.
Construction is expected to begin in a few weeks.