Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 4, 2012

Trees make way for street improvements

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

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The Piñedas’ yard on Collin Street was one of those stand-outs, with lots of landscaping that showcased their talent for keeping living things green, but it’s taking a hit this week. The landscapers, along with dozens of their neighbors, are losing trees to city contractors who are cutting down trees in the city’s right-of-way in preparation for road construction next spring.

Marina Piñeda was philosophical about it.

“We understand. We were doing landscaping on city property,” she said. “It’s OK, it was time for us to redo that area.”

It will be worthwhile once the rough street is redone, she added. “Even the kids say ‘No, mommy, don’t go on the bumpy street.’”

The tree removal has begun, and will continue with utility replacement and relocation starting in November. The road construction will begin in the spring, according to City Engineer Elizabeth Borstad.

“We are removing trees in order to get ready for our utility relocation of water, sewer, gas, phone and cable. Some of the trees are really large, but down through there Oncor has already had their contractor go through there cutting at the trees for their power lines.

“I think the saving grace is there are so many nice trees beyond the right-of-way line that will not be involved in the reconstruction.”

The entire project, while temporarily disruptive, will address some chronic ills along the street. In addition to being pitted and washboarded, the street also has drainage and utility issues with older pipes that tend to break and leak. Part of relocating the utilities will be replacing all those old lines.

Jo Purifoy has lived on Collin Street since 1972 and it has always had problems, she said.

“It’s been uneven and rough for a long, long time,” she said. “We use Sixth to go to town and back. We don’t use Collin because of the uneven bricks. It’s just a better ride.”

The old bricks will be taken up, stored for future street repairs, and replaced with a smooth concrete surface. Where the street narrows, it will be widened to a standard 30-feet across, Borstad said.

“It will look just like any of the other bond street projects,” she said.

In addition to new utilities and a new road, the project is also going to include new drainage in an area that’s desperate for it.

“The joke used to be if anybody spit on Collin we’d have a flood,” Purifoy recalled. “It really is hard to navigate if there’s any kind of rain or shower at all; Collin becomes a river.”

Everyone agreed it was sad to see the trees go, but the trade-off would be worthwhile, Purifoy said.

“But if we get a good street out of it, it’ll be better,” she said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com