Kenny tree’s demise reveals ‘eyesore’ sign

A Kenny neighborhood tree that was cut down has exposed a large overhanging mast-arm sign that has nearby homeowners upset.

The tree was on the west side of Lyndale Avenue as it converges into the on-ramp for Highway 62 West. The sign directs drivers to the highway. Kenny resident Bill Libbey calls the sign an "eyesore," and he and his neighbors hope the Kenny Neighborhood Association can beautify the area after state officials refused.

Libbey contends that the sign has a negative effect on property values of the 56 homes that can now see it. He and others tried to get Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials to remove the sign. Libbey argued that there are other, smaller signs that mark the highway entrance and fit in better with the neighborhood.

MnDOT Metro Traffic Engineer Brian Kamnikar told residents that the sign, installed in 1987, is necessary according to federal highway sign standards.

Kamnikar said that other, smaller signs nearby don’t give drivers the proper lane assignment and notify them of the upcoming junction with enough time to properly exit. Kamnikar said these signs are also necessary for drivers unfamiliar with the area.

So Libbey asked the Kenny Neighborhood Association in March for help. He said other sections of roadside leading onto Highway 62 are landscaped with lilacs and trees, and that something similar could block the neighbors’ view of the sign.

KNA president Dan Quirk said his group has a contract with the Minneapolis Park Board to use some NRP money specifically for tree-planting in the neighborhood. He said he would look into the possibility of planting a new tree to replace the one that was removed.