COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A judge granted a request by Columbia city leaders to remove any people protesting on land marked for construction of a new trail on Rollins Street.
The order from Judge Jeff Harris on Friday directs the Boone County Sheriff's Department to remove any people with a local organization from the area within the next eight days. Members of Columbia nonprofit It's Our Wild Nature started protesting the construction on Monday.
One member of IOWN, Sutu Forte, has been living inside a tree on the property to halt the construction.
The new trail will connect the Rollins Street to the Bluffdale Drive cul-de-sac. Construction on the trail is scheduled to start Nov. 4 and continue until the summer of 2020. The court order says the city could have to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer money if the project is delayed.
A court decision in January ruled Columbia could purchase the land for the trail by way of eminent domain. The city was awarded an order of condemnation by Harris in March.
IOWN is protesting the construction to preserve natural areas of the city.
The Columbia City Council approved the design and construction of the trail in 2018. City leaders are using federal funding to build the $2.8 million project.