Group blasts Trail 'destruction'

June 10, 2009
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Construction work on a new Kroger-anchored development along the Monon Trail at 86th Street is drawing the ire of Nora neighborhood leaders. They're frustrated by the removal of trees and bushes along the trail by the project's developer, locally based Sandor. Kroger and Sandor have promised to clean-up and beautify the trail frontage as part of its $12-million project to build a new grocery store and gas station. But Pete Fisher, an attorney and board member of the Nora-Northside Community Council, described the work so far as "destruction" of the green space. "We need to take action now to regain control over the maintenance of our trail," he wrote in an e-mail. "It is our trail. Not Kroger's. It is not a frontage for Kroger marketing." Fisher provided two photos below to illustrate the change.

UPDATE: Reader tced provides a photo with more perspective.

Monon before

Monon after
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  • Sandor should have some responsibility.
    • For anyone wanting to build close to the Monon, there should be restrictions on removal of trees or bushes along the trail. I cannot believe they destoyed this wonderful green space. Heads need to roll over this one. I cannot imagine they will make this anything close to what is used to look like. Just so you can see their store from the trail. People in Nora should boycott the store over this.
    • Nora nimbys make me sick. I don't understand their opposition to this Kroger. Did they really prefer the vacant Blockbuster and copy shop covered in spray paint art?
    • Two points,
      First, the project is not complete. Wait for the completion of the project before making an assessment.
      Second, this is not exactly a pristine wilderness. Within 100 feet is the rear of the adjacent shopping center. It isn't exactly a pretty sight. And 86th is very nearby with thousands of cars driving by.
    • I hate this project. There's no need for this kroger or gas station, The fact that they took down all those trees just makes me hate it more.
    • And tced, your second point is ridiculous. Take an actual look at the pictures. They ripped out more than just a few trees...they ripped out several hundred yards of them! Absolutely appauling!
    • Mark,
      Have you ever been near this place? I have ridden by here many times. Directly east of this is the rear of a number of businesses. Not pretty. I am not criticizing those businesses but this is not exactly a wilderness.
    • Sickening. Not in my backyard (NIMBY) is one thing, but this a nature trail.
      The trees are gone. It's not like you can replant 50/100 year old trees.
      Ask a nurseryman the retail value of a 100 year old tree and it would
      wipe out Kroger's budget pretty quickly. I stopped using the Monon
      when they built the hideous housing development at 65th and the Monon.
      There should be financial repercussions from this. And please. . .don't
      add insult to injury by planting Bradford Pear trees to replace what was there.
    • Matthew, you would have been very hard pressed to find a single tree in that bunch that was anywhere NEAR 100 years old, lol. This was not old growth forest people, it was prinarily shrubbery and weeds with some non-native tree species thrown in for good measure.
    • I second the no Bradford Pear policy. But regardless of what is planted they have a long way to go to replace the mature trees that have been lost forever. Pristine wilderness or not it's a pretty dissapointing loss.
    • This looks pretty bad. Unnecessary to remove as many of those trees. More appropriate would have been to thin them out as necessary.

      KEVIN: The opposition quoted in the post was not to the Kroger but to excessive removal of trees and bushes. Your point is irrelevant.
    • The Planning and Development Commission really needs to step up on areas like this.

      Too often they let the developments surge forward without proper Landscape and more importantly Drainage issues addressed.

      If they allow them to cut the trees, they need to ensure that a nice treescape is added along the Monon. A long row of Evergreens is ideal for the Monon and as a backdrop for the building. Doesn't have to be one or the other and a win-win can easily be achieved.
    • Hey folks,

      How about all those electrical lines I see in the photo? Have those lines been there for years? If so, would not the IPALCO folks not have kept the so-called pristine growth from overtaking the electrical lines?

      It would seem that everyone should simmer down. Apparently, a corporate decision was made, and a poor one at that, but what to do about it now. Perhaps a neighborhood committee should approach the Kroger people about a plan to correct the problem.

      While the points are correct about not immediately being able to right the wrong, I would tend to agree that this hardly seemed like old growth forest. Surely a replacement plan could be reached and agreed upon by the interested parties, don't you think?
    • Trees...brush...whatever you want to call it....they hid the property from the Monon. I hope Kroger has a plan for re-beautfiying the area. They were good citizens when building the store at 71st and Binford. Hopefully they show earn a good citizen badge by working wtih Nora on this. The nimby comment and hostile comment from Kevin is ridiculous. There's a difference between progress and diong things right. You can have responsible development that respects the neighborhood. Imagine if those trees lined your backyard. Then you might have a different opinion!
    • Simple fact: those aren't before and after photos of the same spot. If they were, the gas pipeline marker, power lines, and asphalt walkway to the left visible in the second picture would all be visible in the first picture. This sort of thing is typical of the NNCC (Nora Nimby Community Council).

      caliboy's right: what was removed was trash trees, most likely non-native and invasive species such as honeysuckle, mulberry, tree-of-heaven and the like. IndyParks periodically does the same thing in the small space between the trail and Westfield Blvd from the river up to 75th.
    • Also: those trees were on the commercial property, not on the trail. Last I checked, it's perfectly legal to cut your own trees down.

      As I recall, there were a number of commitments about re-landscaping and buffering along the trail in the zoning case. How about if someone who's up in arms actually researches the matter before claiming that Kroger cut down old-growth forest?
    • Those photos are definitely misleading.
    • As usual, my neighbors with the Nora group need to chill out. Having another grocery/pharmacy option in the neighborhood will be good. I live in the heart of Nora and welcome this store. HOWEVER, it does seem that Sandor went overboard on brush and tree cutting. But don't call what was there pristine forest. This was a rail line until 20 years ago, folks. The Monon, then the L&N, then CSX kept the foliage cut back. It's not like they (Sandor) wiped out old growth forest, but it does seem silly that they took away the foliage barrier.

      So, how about if cooler heads prevail, and everybody sits down and works out the issues? Heaven forbid a positive dialog comes from this ...
    • I have walked that part of the trail many times. There was Honeysuckle... I realize Honeysuckle is invasive, but it smells heavenly and attracts butterflies and birds. The trees and shrubs, no matter how mature, cooled the air on the trail and muted the noise from the traffic AND hid the unattractive power lines. No, not the most scenic part of the trail, but certainly more scenic and less noisy than it will be from now on with the construction.
    • Look at the utility lines that were put in--the trees had to be removed.
    • Thundermutt seems to be correct in that the photos were shot from different spots along the trail. My guess is that the before shot is about 100+ yards back from the after shot judging from the curb cut and the bend in the trail. But, Jesus, the rest of the quibbling over tree types and power lines is nonsense and discardable.

      The point is that a very tall, green canopy over the Monon Trail has been destroyed for commercial purposes (visibility/marketing) and the public has to suffer for it. I would ask whether the tenant (Kroger) or the landlord (Sandor Development) is to blame. The public can dole out consequences more effectively once the offender(s) is outed.
    • In the top picture, I believe that the paved path coming in on the left is the trail to the YMCA, which is MUCH further south than the spot in the bottom picture. I'm not thrilled by this development. It's very hard for me to imagine so much in that small spot. But the opponents only hurt their efforts when they exaggerate the issue, as these pictures clearly do. Nora needs to work a little harder to cooperate with these folks so that everyone in the area benefits. If I were Kroger right now, I would tell the people creating these baloney comments, fabricated pictures, etc to go stick it somewhere. And then what do we all gain. Cool it folks!
    • You'd be better off hiding the property on the east side of the trail, with the rear doors and dumpster enclosures everywhere. This is the unsightly part. I'm sure whatever they put in will improve the scrub that was there on the west side.

      There seems to be a desperate shortage of chill pills in Nora.

      Oh, and anyone who quits using the Monon because of a residential development at a single point along it is just being silly. Ride the whole trail, 10th to 146th, and tell me how this one little development impacts the use or atmosphere of this trail. This is an urban trail, which means parts of it actually look like they're in a city.
    • I was one who has worked in the torn down buildings for the past 31 years. The 'beautiful' picture isn't how the brush looks as you walk along the monon. Tearning the crap down is much improved for the project that is still in progress. Take a look at the other side of the monon - the backs of those buildings are a sore sight on the eyes. I'm sure Kroger will beautify the area once the construction is complete. Actually-I think that is part of the Nora Council's regulations. Bring on Kroger!! I for one cannot wait until it is open to the public. Marsh needs competition in Nora. Take a look at how Marsh looks from the Monon side ... I'm sure that's how Kroger will be when completed...better than behind the Snooty Fox for sure!!
    • Hmmm...

      The 'before' photo was taken much farther south than the 'after' photo.

      The asphalt path that runs to the left of the 'before' photo is the walkway to the YMCA I believe.

      The 'after' picture must have been taken very near the 86th street rest area.

      Either way, I agree that it is a very dramatic change. However, I also agree to wait and see until the project is complete. It may be a better green space in the end. It was a green space before but very polluted with trash.

      I would imagine Kroger will help keep that immediate area clean.
    • The pictures above are definitely misleading. The before picture is taken from approximately where the trail curves out of site in the after picture. The greenery that was removed was nothing special (certainly not old growth trees), but it was still greenery and nicer to look at than what's there now. Hopefully part of the Kroger project will include some decent landscaping.
    • Just take a look at Sandor's other developments around town and then you will have a good idea about how they maintain their properties as good neighbors. Not so much.
    • How about property rights? Looks like this vegatation was on the deveolpers property, if they want them down then that's thier right.

      I'm so sick of these neighborhood groups dictating what and how private land can be used. If they liked the trees so much, why didn't they buy the property from Sandor?

      Lastly, let them finish construction before you start bashing Kroger and Sandor.
    • Does anyone want to comment on the huge amount of trash, junk, and brackish water that was in the gully opposite the beautiful rear of Reid Plaza/Snooty Fox? Yes, the change is pretty jarring, but the other posters are right in that the greenery was mostly brush with a few unremarkable trees. I'm 100% certain that the once the Kroger project is done, the west side of this stretch will look better than before. We really need to get on the Snooty Fox's case to do something about the east side.
    • Ditto to John Q. Public remarks. Sandor does not maintain their properties well. Slumlord...
    • When the Reserve at Broad Ripple (adjacent to Monon) was built the BRVA was smart enough to require the developer to save the green space.

      Nora and the city screwed up in two ways:
      1. Should have required the power lines to be buried.
      2. Either force preservation of what's there or require better landscaping buffer to be installed with pedestrian friendly corridor through the sea of kroger parking from entrance to monon. that would look good.

      People: this is another failure of leadership. Developers won't do what isn't required!
    • Remember that the Monon trail was originally a railroad track. It was not a scenic walk.

      The power lines are the same as they have been for years. You can require burying them but that is a new requirement.

      If the Nora neighborhood association wanted an undeveloped nature park, they were free to ppurchase the land and make it so.

      The project has been approved by the authorities. I still say let the project be completed before redesigning it.
    • Mickey stepped out of the door and immediately realized that he was being stalked by Chewbacca. Once Darth realized this, he held out his arm and made a choking gesture in the air, eventually killing the giant wookie.

      Now safe, Mickey ran and jumped into Darth's outstretched arms, his giant black ears and white gloves made the robot encased head feel like a great man. They immediately made love and eventually gave birth to Fiona Apple.
    • Some guy - what the hell?????

      Seriously, all of you naysayers - looks like you owe Mr. Eskenazi and Kroger a big apology.

      Looks impressive!
    • 1. More great leadership from the Ballard Administration.

      2. Sandor is a joke.

      3. All that said, let's see what they come up with when the project is done.

      4. Bitching and moaning helps. Call the Mayor's action line (327-4MAC) and let them know what you think. I do. Alot. :)
    • Excessive It's my land and I'll do what I want arguements are borderline draconion (though land ownership rights DO matter.) These issues are best resolved (ahead of time) between private, public, and community group discussion and agreement.

      Photos are not entirely misleading - though seem to represent different parts of the trail. Try examining the location using Google Earth and you will see about a 15 to 20 foot buffer of trees. (I doubt the Google shot is that out of date.)

      Obviously NORA and KROGER did a poor job communicating on this project. Invasive species could have been removed and larger trees left for shade to accentuate the future landscaping developers have promised.
    • Sid did a poor job of listening to the neighbors.
    • it don't matter what the 'sheeple' want cuz gawd knows the folks with the money (ie; 'developers') alwayz gets what they wants from the Indpls Corporate, er, I mean City Council...don't y'all get it yet...this is not a country (or city/ state) of 'we the people' anymore, it's 'we the vested corporate interests and our wholly owned political flunkies and bureaucrats! Amen and may we all live long and prosper under the direction of the corporate whoremasters!!!
    • I will wait unti the project is finished before casting stones; however, based on the severe lack of curb appeal for all of the other Sandor projects around town (i.e. the Walmart center near 86th & Michigan - yuck!) I fully expect the landscaping for this project to be pitiful at best.
    • Mr. Gawd:

      You think it's bad now. Just wait until the annointed one in DC gets finished owning and directing corporate America. Corporate and Gov'mint together is a recipe for disaster.

      Another point, where did you get the opinion that everything in life is fair to everyone? Best get over that while'st you still can.
    • I am sure you all live in neighborhoods that were once thick woods, but the trees were cleared to make room for houses. You probably have to walk/run on the Monon because your neighborhoods don't have any trees for this very reason. And I am sure you drive on streets in the city that were also once densely-populated woods. When is all the green extremism going to stop?
    • The award for making the shortest connection between Nora Community Council, the Monon Trail, and President Obama goes to....BerwickGuy. Speaking of getting over things... Anyway, thanks for keeping us on topic there.
    • What a joke, different locations on the pictures....and then the gall to say what they said? Guess what folks, there is CRIME on the Trail and in some places it might actually be SAFER to have less brush and overgrown areas. I will take the trade off of a new development, trees that are smaller but placed in the appropriate areas, and yes, a Gas Station.....all add to the area. Donato's should be happy as well, and Habig's will explode with more customers just for exposure this gives.
      Kroger would not put up with a bad situation, don't forget, Sid may develop it....but with a tenant like Kroger they have a lot to say, and it will look great.
    • Hey good stuff...keep up the good work! :)

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