ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Neighbors along the Elton Hills ravine in northwest Rochester are angry over a construction project that started without warning last Friday.
Crews are ripping down trees along a walking path as part of a project the city said will counteract and help prevent erosion.
Neighbors said they had no idea there would be any changes to the ravine in their neighborhood until they saw the heavy equipment tearing down trees Friday afternoon.
The quiet stretch of paved walkway along the Elton Hills ravine is normally populated by people out walking, bicycling or playing fetch with their dogs, but neighbors said construction crews came on Friday and started tearing down trees along the ravine.
"I bought my house because of the neighborhood -- an established neighborhood, older neighborhood," said Ken Huettl who lives along the ravine. "Part of that purchase is buying into the trees in that neighborhood, and now they're gone."
Neighbors said they weren't notified of the construction and never got a chance to provide input, and they're afraid the outcome will take away their privacy and lower their property values.
"It's kind of the look and feel of the neighborhood that's at stake here," Huettl said.
According to Rochester City Council member Sandra Means, the project is meant to address erosion in culverts along the ravine. But neighbors said they're skeptical.
"If it's legitimate erosion, I'm all for the project or a modified project but I'll tell you the honest truth. I didn't see it," Huettl said.
Crews will replace the culverts and lay limestone rock in the bottom of the ravine to prevent future erosion.
The contract was given to Elcor Construction during the September 17th city council meeting for nearly $200,000. But neighbors said they wanted more of a voice and more transparency throughout the process.
"If erosion really is that significant of a problem, then that's fine. Let's come to the table and come up with a better solution than ripping out all of the trees and throwing down rip rock. That's not aesthetically pleasing and there's got to be a better solution," said Kim Kuenck who also lives along the ravine.
The Rochester Public Works Department was not available for comment Monday because of the Veterans Day holiday.
However, when we asked her to investigate, city council member Sandra Means went to the ravine to see for herself what was going on. She said construction crews will not be tearing down all the trees along the ravine and some trees will be replaced.
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