In response to Blade Associate Editor Keith C. Burris’ May 11 op-ed column, "Toledo, spare those trees," about the Cherrylawn Drive reconstruction project: In 2007, Cherrylawn was in an unacceptable condition. I told the neighborhood that I would champion the repairs necessary to correct the situation.
In 2012, it was determined the street needed a total reconstruction. An Ohio public works grant was applied for and received for this project. The grant accounts for 19 percent of the project costs.
The bid was awarded to a local contractor, and the cost of the project was $1.83 million. This is the largest residential street project for 2013.
Four meetings were held beginning last August, and notices were delivered to every residence on Cherrylawn Drive for two of the meetings.
The additional meetings were a District 2 street planning meeting, and a Crossgates block watch meeting.
I responded to all questions related to the scope and magnitude of the project and attended all of the meetings. The tree removal was explained at all meetings, and the professional reasons for the removal were defined.
After the facts were presented and the falsehoods challenged, 93 percent of residents on Cherrylawn Drive supported the project.
This project is critical to saving a very important neighborhood.
Ignoring sound and rational neighborhood restoration is a clear path to losing our city.
D. MICHAEL COLLINS
Toledo City Council
Bell’s tactics heavy-handed
As a taxpayer and property owner on Cherrylawn Drive, I’m appalled at the tactics Mayor Mike Bell’s administration and Councilman D. Michael Collins used to shove a street project down our throats.
Mr. Bell appeared before a packed house on April 19, billed as an opportunity to discuss the senseless removal of every tree on the street and the wasteful installation of sidewalks, to which half or more of the property owners objected.
Prior to that meeting, Mr. Collins said that Mr. Bell was going to come to the meeting and “put the hammer down” on the opposition. Mr. Bell fulfilled that promise. He made it clear that it was his way or the highway, ignoring the petitions signed by at least half of the property owners to abort both components of the project.
Mr. Burris nailed it. Mr. Bell’s and Mr. Collins’ attitudes were arrogant. There was no meaningful discussion.
As with the ongoing debacle on Collingwood, property owners were not involved in the decisions. It’s a case of the property owners and taxpayers be damned. So much for transparency.
The city is squandering hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to install sidewalks on both sides of a street that was never designed for them.
In the upcoming election, both Mr. Bell and Mr. Collins are vying for mayor. I hope neither will prevail.
Unless you want to experience the same arrogance and ruthless tactics that the 50-plus property owners on Cherrylawn did, be very careful whom you elect.
Every city taxpayer should be outraged at the needless waste of dollars. It’s time for Mr. Bell and Mr. Collins to make good on their promise to take the heat.
Thanks to Mr. Burris and The Blade for making the real story known.
Preserve city’s history as well
The city cut down the trees on Collingwood Avenue even after the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued an opinion that it would have an adverse effect on the Old West End Historic District.
The city has tried to deny citizens the right to participate fully in this redevelopment project as required under a federal mandate. By law, federal agencies must take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties.
The adverse effects to the Old West End Historic District will continue as long as the city of Toledo insists on ignoring residents’ input. We have asked to narrow Collingwood Avenue to its historic residential dimensions, justified by the city’s own traffic counts, which city officials choose to ignore.
The street does not need to be wide, now that truck and car traffic is carried around the neighborhood by the expressway system.
We have asked that the wide sidewalks and the wide tree lawns with large canopy trees on the other streets within the historic district be maintained. But the city insists on future “tree lawns” only 4 feet wide, so no canopy trees can be planted there.
The cutting down of the mature tree canopy is not the final act in this drama. It’s not over until Toledoans have achieved the federally mandated input into decision making for our neighborhoods.
DAVID J. NEUENDORFF
Keynes’ theory trips up Detroit
In response to Paul Krugman’s May 13 op-ed column, “The tragedy of harsh attempts at government austerity”: Mr. Krugman brags about the “discrediting” of government austerity programs across the globe.
But in the same day’s paper, Detroit’s emergency manager discloses the Motor City’s near-death financial condition.
Detroit has been run by liberal Democrats. They have followed the Keynesian model of deficit spending.
The city is a model of Mr. Krugman’s policies.