North Fourth Street residents got what they wanted at a city council meeting Thursday, but it ultimately may be costly to a few.
The Brainerd City Council on Thursday unanimously approved finishing the street, taking down six trees affecting the construction project and replacing sidewalks for those who want them.
The council also approved setting up a committee to study the issues of those who don't want their sidewalks replaced now. Council members Mark O'Day and Deb Olander were absent.
Residents have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to choose to go with the city project. After that, any sidewalk replacement and/or tree removal deemed necessary by the city would be done entirely at the cost of the homeowner.
Residents who attended the council meeting and public hearing Thursday just want their street completed and reopened.
"This is the ninth week we've been without a street over there," said Walt Fust. "The primary concern of most folks in here is to get that street back in place."
Added fellow resident Steve Frasl: "You've been screwing around with this long enough. Get this damn thing done."
The impetus for the public hearing were several ribbons placed on trees along North Fourth Street two weeks ago.
The ribbons marked trees that possibly would have to be cut down for the sidewalk project. City Engineer Jeff Hulsether told the residents that was a worst-case scenario.
"I'm not against the sidewalks, but I don't want to lose my trees to the sidewalk," said Doug Sjolund.
Unless residents tell the city otherwise, only six trees so far are marked for removal because of the effect they would have on the construction project.
The city council also approved a motion to hire a tree inspector to find diseased trees along the street and advise homeowners of the health of their trees.
The project was unanimously tabled two weeks ago by the city council while staffers met with each resident along North Fourth Street.
Assistant City Engineer Don Klein said he was able to visit or have a phone conversation with 33 of 43 residents who lived on North Fourth Street. Of those 33 he said between 27-29 aren't opposed to sidewalk replacement.
Council member Bob Olson agreed with the residents that the project has taken too long, and he said someone was dragging feet.
He said he wouldn't vote in favor of the motion to complete the project unless the city hired a tree inspector.
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