In North Dakota -- a state of few trees -- it could soon be far fewer. These trees may not live to see another summer. They're part of a development built in the 1970s -- specifically designed without sidewalks. Decades later, they're huge -- and home for many local critters. Now the trees and their tenants are in jeopardy.
"The neighbors that have been here for a very long time have told me this comes up about every ten years or so, and it's just, you know, the trees get bigger. They're more beautiful. I mean, just look behind me, where are you going to put a sidewalk here in my neighborhood?" asks Dale Zimmerman, Resident, Santa Gertrudis Drive. Bismarck.
Bismarck is undertaking to construct sidewalks, pursuant to an ordinance requiring them in all residential areas. The City says the ordinance is not discretionary. However, some say discretion has, in fact, been exercised in the past -- even recently -- when owners building a new home in the neighborhood were asked if they wanted sidewalks.
"So they were given a choice just two years ago, and as a result, they put in trees where there would normally be sidewalks. And now, they're on the list to have all those trees removed and put sidewalks in," says Zimmerman.
Apparently, both Contessa and Domino Drives were on "the list," as they were recently mandated to receive sidewalks this year. However, Commissioners decided to wait on Santa Gertrudis where sidewalks could mean ripping out 40 to 50 trees.
So at least for now, the Santa Gertrudis' trees have been granted a temporary pardon.
Residents vow to continue standing up for their trees and not go down without a fight. For the City's part, an amount of willingness has been expressed to work around existing landscaping. However, residents note the area where sidewalks would be installed is dense with trees along the entire street.
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