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Clearing has begun on the Hayes Arboretum frontage.

Clearing has begun on the 33 acres of Hayes Arboretum frontage property that will be developed by Anchor Properties of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Photo taken October 3, 2005

Palladium-Item Article by Bill Engle (Originally published September 30, 2005)

Tree-cutting goes on despite suit, Staff ask people to heed warning signs

Work continued this week on the harvesting of trees at Hayes Arboretum.

Workers from Kramer's Land Clearing in Linton, Ind., cut dozens of trees this week on 33 acres of arboretum frontage to prepare the land for development into a shopping center.

"At this point they are just getting it cleared," said Richmond attorney John Sayre, a member of the arboretum board. "The trees have been sold so they are havesting the trees."

Sayre said the arboretum will be paid the value of the trees.

Once the land is cleared, site preparation will begin. Reece-Campbell Inc. of Cincinnati is the general contractor for the project. The company has a trailer on the site.

Anchor Properties of Cincinnati is buying the land for $9 million in a deal that is expected to close in mid-October. Anchor plans to build the shopping center on the arboretum site.

Anchor officials have said that Menard's, Walgreens, Kohl's and Frisch's have signed on to be located in the new shopping center, which Anchor vice president of development Mike Ricke said will be open by fall 2006.

Ricke had no further comment on the development this week.

Signs adorned the trees and fences surrounding the designated development area telling people to stay out.

"They're out there cutting trees and moving equipment," Sayre said. "It's still our property and we don't want anyone getting hurt. There isn't any reason for anybody to be there, anyway."

People protesting the development walked the road around the site last weekend, prompting concern among arboretum staff. Richmond police were called at least twice, once to remove two protesters from arboretum land and later because of the racket they were making.

Meanwhile, three arboretum neighbors have filed suit against the Richmond Advisory Plan Commission over its decision to rezone the land for development. Joyce Thornburg, Richard Pugh and Lorraine Levin filed the lawsuit with the support of Friends of the Arboretum, the group that has been fighting the development since it was first announced in June 2003.

The court has given the plan commission until Oct. 12 to respond to the suit.

Indianapolis attorney Bernard J. Pylitt represents the neighbors. David Burton is the local attorney.

Burton said he is disappointed the land is being cleared even though a lawsuit has been filed.

"What is the urgency for cutting the trees now?" Burton said. "If Anchor is not anxious to close the deal, what is the motivation to clear the land?"

About the tree-cutting

Brett Kramer, president and owner of Kramer's Land Clearing, said his workers have dropped about two-thirds of the trees on the 33 acres at Hayes Arboretum destined for development.

Kramer said it will take about another two to three weeks to fell the rest of the trees, prepare the logs for transport and grind up the rest of the wood for mulch or for use as erosion control on the site.

"Nothing gets wasted," Kramer said.

The development's general contractor, Reece-Campbell Inc. of Cincinnati, hired Kramer's company to harvest the timber. The arboretum will be paid for the timber.

Article reprinted with permission from the Palladium-Item.



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