The future of the 100-year-old sycamore trees that line West Main Street will once again be up for public discussion as the City of Turlock announced a third public meeting on the upcoming reconstruction project slated for the oldest section of the busy thoroughfare.
City staff received conflicting input at the previous two meetings, held in January and March 2016. The upcoming meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 1 at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway in Turlock.
At the last meeting, the City presented three possible construction options — two included eliminating parking on one side of the street and using that space to increase the landscape strips, which would give the trees more room to grow, and a third that would keep the current roadway alignment, with parking on both sides of the street, remove all of the sycamores and replace them with trees that are less likely to have roots that cause damage.
The majority of those in attendance at the January meeting were very concerned about saving the historic sycamores that line Main Street — 26 on the north side of the street and three on the south side.
"West Main is a beautiful street, a historic street. I see keeping it as is and just repairing it," said Milt Trieweiler, a resident of W. Main since 1973, at the January meeting. "It's a unique street in Turlock. We don't have any like it."
While there was some support for tree-saving options in March, the majority of people at that meeting were concerned about losing street side parking and the wisdom of keeping the trees that have caused severe damage to Main Street sidewalks and contributed to the poor state of the roadway itself.
Everyone at the previous meetings agreed that the condition of the roadway was horrible and in desperate need of rehabilitation.
“Over the course of two community meetings, we've ended up with two very different visions for West Main," said Mayor Gary Soiseth. "It's my hope that this last neighborhood meeting will result in a design that is a safe, efficient, and structurally sound entrance into our historic downtown. It’s crucial that we move this project forward with the input of as many residents as possible."
The City is planning a complete reconstruction of W. Main Street from West Avenue South to Lander, with new sidewalks and gutters. The City will install new sidewalks on Main Street because the street reconstruction, with Americans with Disabilities Act intersection improvements, will be affected, however, property owners in the City of Turlock are responsible for the maintenance of both the sidewalks and street trees in front of their homes and businesses.
The City is also planning to do a pavement overlay and redo the median along the four-lane section of W. Main Street from West Avenue South to Tully Road.
Those unable to attend the Feb. 1 meeting can submit their comments on the project to Project Supervisor Nathan Bray at email@example.com or by calling 668-6035.