Cutting Down 20 Trees
McCahon is protesting over a city project that involves cutting down 20 trees to accommodate the new multi-use sports facility, featuring a brand-new pickleball court.
McCahon’s complaint has been going on for a year now, primarily stemming from concerns regarding the transparency of the city’s decision-making process.
McCahon explained, saying, “I’m tired, essentially, of talking to them. That’s why I’m here.”
In conjunction with fellow residents, she asserts that the city should reconsider the project, encourage public participation, and present various alternatives, locations, funding possibilities, and associated expenses.
The dispute escalated with McCahon tethering herself to the willow two days ago, symbolizing her unwavering dedication to safeguarding the trees and opposing the project.
“I started yesterday; I was here all day yesterday from dawn until dusk,” recounted McCahon.
“This isn’t a disposable thing; this was an investment that the community made 30 years ago,” emphasized McCahon.
While city authorities acknowledge the apprehensions regarding the loss of trees, they highlight the project was set in motion following a substantial donation of $7.5 million from the Russell family.
City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton underscored that ample opportunities had been provided to the public to weigh in on the matter over an extended period.
She did acknowledge that 20 trees would need to be felled, though replacement ones would be replanted.
Stapleton informed 4 News Now that they had engaged with the community, conducting numerous meetings in the past and engaging in discussions with affected neighbors. She noted that this park was chosen due to its proximity to multiple schools, senior centers, and the YMCA.
Stapleton told KREM 2 News the city pledged to plant three trees for each one felled to make way for the new pickleball courts.
The family of Frank Travers, after whom the park was named, also expressed their dismay regarding the planned development. The city had honored Travers’ contributions to the youth sports community in the 1970s and 80s by bestowing his name upon the park.
Monica Gunter, a daughter of Travers, lamented, “My father, my sister, and my grandmother; their ashes are all spread here under that maple tree right there. “That’s going to come down, and it’s going to be covered in concrete, and the city doesn’t even care about it.”
“This whole thing is gonna be gone and covered with a facility that is used by a very small amount of people compared to what it’s used for right now,” Gunter added.
“Many times. And they just look right through us”. Gunter stated, referencing the occasions she and her siblings have appeared before the city council asking for the new development to be shelved.
“Just leave this park alone, build this facility on another property, and everybody would be happy,” she said. “They’d still get tennis, we’d still get our park, and my dad’s name would still be on it; that’s what we would like to see.”
Hanging In The Balance
As the community deliberates on the future of the proposed sports facility, the destiny of the pickleball court and the trees hangs in the balance.
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