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Letter to the Editor

Citizen speaks and no one seems to be listening.

This is the e-mail I sent to the City of Two Harbors Council­ors. This was my second communication to them in regard to the 2023 sidewalk projects.

July 30, 2023

Dear Councilor Erickson,

My name is Mark S. Cullen and I live at (redacted). I am in opposition of the 2023 City of Two Harbors Sidewalk Proj­ect for two important reasons.

  1. The City of Two Harbors seems to have no qualms in assessing property owners extra monies that may or may not be affordable.
  2. The City of Two Harbors myopic vision and concept of sidewalk and street repairs are flawed.

I will elaborate as briefly as possible on reason number 2:

  1. The idea of cutting healthy trees and eliminating habitat for an endangered species and then not having a plan to replace those trees is irresponsible. Putting the burden on individual property owners to purchase trees is not a plan… It is a shirk of responsibility. On the 800 and 900 blocks of 10th Avenue, 45% (13 of 29) of healthy maple trees were cut down. If the City of Two Harbors is only replacing the sidewalk, then I certainly question why certain trees were cut down and others were not cut down. You can do better.
  2. Since 10th Avenue (and maybe others) are not sched­uled to be repaired, there is a lack of long-term planning. When these avenues are scheduled to be repaired, then the remaining trees will have to be cut down. The City of Two Harbors has had this endless cycle of cutting and re­planting trees after every street and sidewalk project. Of course now there is not a viable plan to replant trees… You can do better.
  3. Consider this…replace the sections of sidewalk that need replacing now. The condition of 10th Avenue is so ridiculously worse than the sidewalks are. When the av­enues are scheduled to be redone, then incorporate a complete sidewalk replacement and replanting of trees… You can do better.
  4. There seems to be no standard or consistency of how wide a median (the grass area between the street and sidewalk) is in the City of Two Harbors. There are currently 4’ wide, 5’ wide, 6’ wide and 12’ wide medians. Create a standard and consistent width where trees can be planted and exist without disturbing any street or sidewalk project. Just a note…check out the 500 Block on 5th Avenue. This avenue has a 12’ wide median. Every tree was located in the middle of the median. Every tree was cut down. Un­less these trees were diseased, that was a needless act and was so sad to see. ..You can do better.
  5. Do not take trees for granted. They beautify the envi­ronment, they add character and ambiance to our neigh­borhoods and they add an aesthetic quality to the City of Two Harbors. If you don’t believe it, see it or feel it, then make some observations of avenues with trees and ave­nues without trees.

What do you want the City of Two Harbors to look like and feel like moving forward…You can do better.

In conclusion, I am so against being forced to spend a large sum of money on a flawed project. Put these monies into a tree planting fund to be used when the streets, me­dians and sidewalks are addressed all at the same time. Look to the future without myopic vision…I have hope you can do better.

Thank you,
Mark S. Cullen

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