Residents who live along the Redbud Trail through the MacDonald and Fairmont neighborhoods are protesting Evergy’s intent to place huge, 105-foot power poles in the backyards of residents in order to bring power to the WSU campus.
They are encouraging residents to show up to a District 1 Advisory Board meeting on Monday night to make their objections heard. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the Atwater Neighborhood Center at 2755 E. 19th St.
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2025, according to notices sent out by KDHE.
Legislation shepherded through the state legislature by the late Rep. Gail Finney after the placement of the huge, unsightly poles in front yards in northeast Wichita in 2019, requires neighborhoods to be given notice of plans for new power lines and gives the Kansas Corporation Commission the authority to regulate placement.
It is unclear if the KCC has weighed in on the plans for poles along Redbud Trail.
Neighborhood activist Kim Curry, who is helping organize the fight to stop the project and require Evergy to change the route to go along a main thoroughfare such as Hillside.
Curry said the current plan calls for cutting down all the trees on the west side of the trail, which is now shaded all the way through the neighborhood to Maple Grove Cemetery by mature trees.
Curry said. “We understand that the Innovation Campus needs the power, but we think they should innovate a better solution,” she said.
Neighborhood residents say their property values will be reduced up to 40%, not only because the poles are a visual blight, but because many people believe the high-voltage lines cause health problems, including cancer.