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Wednesday, April 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Light Rain
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Allied -- against the trees
City redevelopment plan would uproot foliage

Many trees on Allied will go with the old apartments.
Many trees on Allied will go with the old apartments.
Credit:Schreiber/Anderson Associates
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Amid all the talk about affordability, it's easy to lose sight of other aspects of the proposed redevelopment of Allied Drive.

Such as the trees. It may seem like a small thing, but the trees on Allied Drive are one of the few nice things about the neighborhood. The buildings are run down, the lawns unkempt, the people are struggling. But the trees are a bright splash of color in a sometimes dreary existence.

Last week, at a community meeting on Allied, Kate Stalker of Schreiber Anderson Associates -- one of the project's design consultants -- announced that many of the neighborhood's trees will have to come down.

"I was really worried when she said that," says Brian Solomon, the neighborhood's alder. It was the first time anyone had suggested the trees must come down.

Stalker did not return phone calls seeking clarification of her comments. At the public meeting, she said the city wouldn't know which of the trees would be felled until a survey of the site was done. But she predicted that the new buildings would require eliminating most of them.

Stu Levitan, chair of the Community Development Authority, which is leading the redevelopment, says the city has no choice. "In the toss up between safe, quality, affordable housing and the trees, ultimately we went with the housing."

Fair enough. But how ironic that in trying to "improve" the Allied Drive neighborhood, the city might wipe out one of the few good things about it.

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