Saturday, April 26, 2003

Millikin Woods road under way


After 6-year fight, city clearing trees to make way for new route

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - After surviving a six-year fight with opponents, the city's project to build a quarter-mile, two-lane road through Millikin Woods is under way.

Thirty-one trees in the road's path have been removed, with 74 more to be cut down within the next week.

Hamilton got the green light April 14 from the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service to proceed with the project. The agency approved the city's application for permits needed to build the road through the 47-acre park.

The city immediately removed 31 shagbark hickory trees, which federal regulations prohibit being cut down between April 15 and Sept. 15, the nesting season for the Indiana bat, an endangered species.

The project has sparked strong opposition from some residents, who formed the Millikin Woods Preservation Association in 1997. The group, with more than 150 members, succeeded in postponing the project for four years, but could not stop it.

"It's a terrible disappointment," said Maureen Gallardo, association president. "It's been a long haul and a long fight."

The project will result in an extension of Washington Boulevard through the center of Millikin Woods. Some existing portions of Washington Boulevard will be repaved.

The project will cost $1 million, with a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission paying for 54 percent and the city paying the rest.

Opponents have complained it will harm wildlife, damage the park's ambience and cause safety problems for people using the park.

"They're going to destroy the park," Gallardo said. "They're expecting 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles driving through the park per day. That's going to change things not just for the park, but for the neighborhoods around the park."

After the last of the 105 trees are removed, a pedestrian underpass will be built to allow people to walk from one side of the park to the other without crossing the road.

Construction of the new road will begin in August. The project will be completed in November, Collins said.

The agreement with the National Park Service requires the city to plant 100 trees - some in Millikin Woods and some in other parts of the city.

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Evidence argued in death case
Kaltmans tell tales of survival
Colleges come to terms with SARS
Comair: SARS alerts cause some travelers to Toronto to stay home

IN THE TRISTATE
Tristaters head to square to show support for troops
Hueston Woods park honored as bird haven
Elmwood Place faces new search for chief
Sycamore St. nightclub closed by its landlord
Obituary: The Rev. Joseph Willmes
Tristate A.M. Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
McNUTT: Neighborhoods
Faith matters: God's message told on street

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Millikin Woods road under way
Team is fast with the answer
Mystery bolt not from space

OHIO
Schools' 'calamity days' end if bill OK'd
Opposition swells against Ohio judge nominee
Resnick wants courts to uphold election commission ad ruling
83,000 in Cleveland may have been infected by W. Nile virus
Worker let go after 66 years
Company blames reactor engineer
Damaged trees could help enrich Scioto Co.
Waste disposal plan angers residents
OSU students warned not to party too hearty
Municipal judge indicted in arson
His name is on the scale: Charles Richter

KENTUCKY
Pattons play host to Princess Anne
Program targets children under 6
Purple will be all the rage at daylong 'People Bridge' party
Developers get in line for Covington's riverfront
Lexington TV station axes 3 top execs