TROY — The Lincoln Community Center announced its expansion project, but surrounding residents are concerned about its impact on their neighborhood.
Last week, Cedar Street residents expressed their frustration with the plan to open the street’s dead end to use for emergency and maintenance access as well as overflow parking with one-way exit egress using the drive.
Lincoln Community Center announced preliminary construction preparation and site work for the $3.8 million, 21,803-square-foot building will begin this month.
Executive Director Shane Carter addressed the Cedar Street residents’ issues with input from the LCC board president Karen Boone and vice-president Ken Willis, as well as head of the building committee Bart Denlinger.
Carter said the LLC does plan on using Cedar Street for emergency vehicles and egress for school buses, maintenance vehicles and overflow parking during events.
Carter said the center’s traffic will not be directed to use Cedar Street as an entrance to the center.
Carter said the LCC is currently in the process of designing gates to help control traffic and prevent through traffic during off hours.
Many residents said their street is quiet and lightly traveled and children often play basketball or ride bikes in the street without worry of vehicles up and down the road. Carter said those children will have access to their exterior basketball court, playground, and green space.
Carter said the center’s approach has always been intended that the LCC to be an asset, not a liability, to all residents of the neighborhood.
“This project plan was not arbitrary, but a lengthy consideration for city codes and the most effective use of donated resources,” he said. “We have tried to be transparent about our plans, but when trees on our property were removed, it triggered an emotional response.”
Resident Derrick McCoy said the removal of trees helped block noise and deterred trespassers from accessing the center through the neighborhood yards along the railroad tracks. McCoy said he is upset the center’s growth will drive more vehicles down his quiet street. McCoy and other neighbors have circulated a petition with more than 100 signatures from surrounding streets to protest the center’s plan to open the dead-end street to LCC patrons.
McCoy said only around 10 cars access their street throughout the day. Now, with the center opening the dead end, residents will no longer have the privacy it now enjoys.
“I don’t care if there needs to be an ambulance coming through to the center. I get that. Yes, they said they’d put gates up, but gates can stay open and people will try to drive up through here to park,” McCoy said. “We don’t have much here on this street, but one of the nice things is there’s no through traffic, and now they want to take that away.”
Resident Heather Gigandet said she’s fine with the center’s expansion, but she doesn’t have a driveway to park her vehicles off the street and is worried they may be damaged with the increase in traffic.
“I’m just worried someone is going to get hit or one of these vehicles is going to get damaged,” she said. “I don’t have anywhere to park here at the house, so I have to park on the street and it’s a narrow street.”
Other residents shared their concerns, especially with children playing on the quiet street.
Carter said within hours of the complaint regarding the trees removal, members of the board met with residents to listen and address their concerns and that’s when signs and a gate system were suggested. Carter said the center will share its meeting schedule with residents.
”It is our desire to be a good neighbor. Cedar Street will continue to be a two-way street for its residents and emergency or service vehicles. There was never any intended public entry to the LCC rear parking lot. On occasion it will be required to use Cedar Street for egress purposes only. It is, after all, a public street not a private drive. It is maintained by the city using all of our tax dollars,” Carter said.