State approves workaround for massive Sycamore

A temporary sign was installed next to the tree last fall. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.
By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Gita Kamdar, the Sheridan Street resident in Warsaw with a huge Sycamore in her front yard, can take down her “Save the Sycamore” sign.

The battle is officially over.

City Planner Justin Taylor tells News Now Warsaw that the Indiana Department of Transportation has officially agreed to an alternative sidewalk design around the tree, ending any need to remove the massive 300-year-old tree.

“We have a solution that’s been accepted by INDOT and we won’t be removing that tree any time soon,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the new plan will have the sidewalk be constructed around the west side of the tree.

City hall was confident the state would agree to the change but final word took a while.

“We thought that would be the case, but you just don’t know until you know,” he said.

Plans to remove the tree last fall led to backlash from Kamdar and hundreds of others who called for the tree to be saved.

The city quickly changed gears and then pitched a new sidewalk design to INDOT.

Kamdar had never received a final notification about the tree’s fate, but was pleased with the decision she learned of on Monday.

“I fought for that tree for the community and not for myself,” she said. “For generations to come, I want that tree to be there.”

As it turns out, Kamdar, who has lived in the house for some 20 years and was initially drawn to the house because of the tree, is moving. Her house is for sale.

In the meantime, she said she’d like to install some kind of permanent plaque near the tree to commemorate its importance and longevity.

“This tree is part of our community. The city has gone out of their way to make a walkway around it and it’s a historical landmark for Kosciusko County,” she said.