Crews began removing trees last week along Market Street and are finishing up today within the right of way to allow for street work.
Many of the trees were unhealthy or their roots were intruding on the storm sewers, asphalt and existing sidewalks.
“Upon completion of the project, street-friendly trees will be replanted per each homeowner’s request,” Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said.
Thallemer said one of the trees had Emerald Ash Borer. The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Thirty percent of the trees were diseased and hollow on the inside, and 70 percent of the maple trees roots had no where to grow so they grew out of the sidewalk.
In anticipation of the Market Street project, neighborhood meetings were held for residents to make them all aware of the changes to expect over the course of the project, as well as the plan for replacing trees.
Last year the K21 Health Foundation Board of Directors approved a major investment in the Community Ride and Walk movement with a 3-to-1 matching grant of $375,000. The funds were to be used to redesign Market Street with a world-class trail, encouraging local donations knowing that every dollar contributed would turn into four.
In the last year, over $147,000 was raised by the community, with 56 percent of this match raised by private donors.
“We are excited to help start a new chapter in the life cycle of the street, one that is safe and comfortable for drivers, bikes, walkers, disabled users and residents,” said Tim Dombrosky, assistant city planner. “With partners like OrthoWorx, the Bowen Center, Kosciusko Velo Cycling Club and numerous generous individuals, this trail project is moving ahead full steam.”
The project is part of the community’s efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles by providing safe and convenient routes for recreating and active transportation, according to Dombrosky.
The Market Street will strengthen connections between the town of Winona Lake, downtown Warsaw, Market Street neighbors and three parks, he said.
This also will connect the Heritage Trail, Beyer Farm Trail and Chinworth Bridge Trail with a crosstown backbone and become the center of the trail system, indirectly connecting every trail and more schools, parks and homes and greatly improving quality of life and place, he said.
The project includes reconstruction of East Market Street from Argonne Road to Bronson Street.
He said the street has suffered years of heavy wear from trucks, large trees and hard winters.
The street rehabilitation project includes street redesign, a 10-foot multi-use trail, new sidewalks and new street-friendly trees. Phase two will continue the project to downtown with the help of a state grant.
In 2012, the Ride and Walk Master Plan established a network to be completed.
Since then trails on Lincoln, West Center and Winona Avenue have been built as well as the Krebs Trailhead Park and a trailhead at Roy Street Trails benefit those who use them by allowing healthy lifestyle choices.
(Story By The Times Union)