BLOCKED: Neighbors frustrated about tree blocking road since last week’s storms

Residents in one Fort Wayne neighborhood say they've asked the city repeatedly to remove a giant fallen tree from their street. A week later, it's still there.
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Michele Zierdt says she appreciates all the work the city of Fort Wayne has done for her neighborhood in recent years.

“They have done a lot,” she says.

But she’s frustrated by the current situation on Ethel Avenue. On Monday at around noon, our Digging Deeper team visited her home on Ethel Avenue off of Goshen to see if a tree last Tuesday’s storm knocked down was still blocking the street.

It was still there, along with caution tape warning drivers not to proceed.

“I now have electricity,” Zierdt says, “But I don’t have internet and that’s how I do my job, so I need my internet connection.” She says her internet provider won’t reconnect her service until the tree is removed.

Zierdt is one of several neighbors who have reported the downed tree to 311. Steve Goff lives two doors down. “There are people without services here, traffic gets bottled up, and people are driving through yards, so we’re ready to have it taken care of,” he says.

ABC21 contacted the city. We were told the Parks and Recreation Department would have some answers for the neighbors questioning why the tree hasn’t been removed.

Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel sent us the following statement:

“Reports via 311 calls continue to be made surrounding the debris from the storm on July 5. The Fort Wayne Parks Department is working through the list from that storm; assigning some to assess each situation to determine the equipment needed and to give it a triage rating based on the danger to people or to property.

At the same time, Parks is assigning others to the situations where known trees are down and blocking a primary route, or where a limb has a high probability of causing person injury or property damage. We understand that everyone wants to see the damage be cleared away. We want that also. It will take time, but we will get there.

We ask the residents to be patient as we continue to respond to the highest priorities first and work our way down to trees or branches that have fallen and are partially blocking non-primary routes and those that are not blocking the roadway. If you have tree debris from the July 5 storm and you haven’t yet called, please call 311 by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 15 and if possible, place it at the curb.”

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