Updated: 07/24/2014 11:26 PM
Created: 07/24/2014 11:03 PM WDIO.com
By: Zach Hammer
The future of Duluth's 4th Street was a heated topic Thursday night, as St. Louis County engineers discussed tree removal plans.
Some who attended the meeting at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Duluth reacted strongly, with several speaking out of turn during the presentation. Concerned citizens said that community surveys were inaccurate, even drawing comparisons to the controversy-laden Red Plan.
The reconstruction of the Hillside thoroughfare will require removing and replacing all the trees from 6th Avenue East to Wallace Avenue — a roughly two-mile stretch.
The engineer in charge of the project says that about half of the trees would have to be removed regardless of the project.
"A lot of the trees are in poor condition right now," Steve Krasaway said. "A lot of them have to be removed due to utility replacement, and a lot of them need to be removed to reconstruct the roadway. In the end, we're going to replant the roadway with more trees than it has right now, with trees that are meant to be in boulevards, and really revitalize the neighborhood."
The replacement plan calls for trees 2-2.5 inches in diameter and 10 to 15 feet high.
Most of the existing trees' root structure would have been irreparably damaged by the street and sidewalk construction, the County concluded.
The tree removal has also been deemed the only option if bike routes going both directions are to be built with the new Fourth Avenue — an accommodation for which the community has shown overwhelming support, according to Krasaway.
The $8 million project is still in its preliminary design phase. There will be at least two more public meetings before it goes to the Duluth City Council.
Construction is expected to start in 2016.
For more information on the project, click here.
Man Pleads Guilty in Deaths of Parents
An Iron River, Wis., man has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of his parents last winter. 45-year-old James Crain, Jr., entered the plea Tuesday as part of a plea agreement.
DNR Talks Safety After Hunter Attacked By Bear, More Details Released
Family members said a hunter is undergoing a second surgery after a bear attack in Pine County. Brandon Johnson is from North Branch and was attacked by a wounded bear early Saturday morning. DNR officials and hunting guides said tracking a wounded bear alone is not recommended.
MSHSL to Vote on Policy Changes for Transgender Athletes
It's in reference to a proposed Minnesota State High School League policy that's scheduled to be voted on this week. The policy would allow transgender high school athletes to play in sports based on their gender identity, not their gender at birth.
Domestic Violence Deaths Reach 77 in Minnesota, Wisconsin for 2013
Domestic violence resulted in 77 deaths in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2013. A group called End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin released the latest numbers for Wisconsin on Monday. Advocates in the Twin Ports say the important thing is to work toward fewer deaths in 2014.
Level III Sex Offender Moving to Rural Duluth
The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says a sex offender is moving to a rural Duluth neighborhood next month.