The beginnings of a multimillion-dollar project are taking hold in Fitchburg on Lacy Road and some neighbors believe it will destroy the natural beauty of the area.
"I've lived here since 1974,” David Willborn, who lives on Lacy Road, said.
In those 42 years, a lot has changed in the city of Fitchburg, but the neighborhood along Lacy Road has stay preserved in time, giving Willborn the best of both worlds.
“It's like being in the country, but it's in the city,” he said. “You can walk to the library and the community center.”
But now, with a major road expansion, things are about to shift.
“What we are trying to do is make it a true urban road,” Patrick Marsh, the city administrator for Fitchburg said.
City officials approved a $5 million project to expand Lacy Road; pouring concrete in place of the pines that line the area. The expansion will allow space for a 10-foot multiuse trail on the south side of Lacy Road, bike lanes, a new gutter system and a roundabout. Most of the green space in front of area homes extends all the way up to the road, but that will no longer be the case, since the city has to cut into that land to make way for the expansion.
“The property owners don't own all the way up to the road currently. There is some city right of way there,” Marsh said.
What the city doesn’t already own was bought by the city. Marsh said about $400,000 was budgeted for land acquisition.
Willborn is going to lose about 4 feet of his green space, but over on the south side, homeowners are going to see at least 10 feet of their lawn vanish to make way for the multiuse trail.
“It will just accommodate more people and be a nice addition for the city,” Marsh said of the project.
But Willborn sees it as much more of a loss than a gain.
“We just don't want it to take the look that we’ve had for years away from us,” Willborn said.
Crews are currently putting some utilities underground, and the bulk of the project will start next spring.