These three Maumelle residents were prepared to tie themselves to trees along the boundary of the new 200-unit Villa at Riverpointe Drive apartments being built between Counts Massie Road and Crystal Hill Road. After watching 100-year old hardwood trees being pulled out by the roots last weekend, Janet and Bill Watkins said they met with the construction company preparing the land and an agreement was reached to save trees along the borders which may or may not be on the apartment complex property. Trees were marked with the white ribbon for saving but they were awakened Tuesday morning by the sound of trees being pulled up and several had the white ribbon on it.
The Watkin’s neighbor Sue Geiser stands with them in front of one of the disputed trees. The Watkins who have lived there for nearly 60 years said they believed the surveyors mislabeled the trees and that those trees, including several torn down were on their property. Maumelle police chief Sam Williams and several of his officers showed up Tuesday during the peaceful protest and explained that anyone chaining themselves to a tree on the complex property that was scheduled to be cut, would be arrested. While they were interested in making a point, all three said they didn’t want to go so far as being arrested. Watkins said he’d hired his own surveyor.
— Bill Lawson