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DENVER — One Centennial neighborhood near East Arapahoe Road and South Broadway is proud to show off the landscape surrounding its homes. But soon, it will look very different.
"It’s going to look like a war zone. One side of the street will have trees, the other side won’t," said Nancy Mangen, who has lived in the neighborhood for 40 years.
Many of the trees that have stood tall in this community for decades will be cut down when Xcel Energy comes in to install new power poles, many of which are located in people’s backyards.
The new plan is catching the attention of many neighbors who want answers.
"We’re concerned about a number of things. One is the electronic magnetic radiation that is possible coming off the high voltage lines. There’s a possibility of noise, and the people in this neighborhood are really going to be affected by the vegetation cutback — they’re cutting back all the trees," said Lee Hayward, who spoke on behalf of many residents.
The current steel power poles were built back in the 1950s and haven’t really been used in years. Xcel Energy says the new poles would be smaller in diameter while using a higher voltage on the existing easements.
"We’re well within the parameters of what the public utilities commission restricts us to both on the EMF outside of the easements as well as the noise they have a limit on the amount of decibels it can be," said Tom Henley, area manger for community relations of Xcel Energy.
As far as the trees go, Xcel acknowledges many will be coming down but said they will talk to homeowners about the changes. They’ll also hire a landscape architect to determine the cost for those changes.
"We’re definitely trying to listen to all of the concerns and considerations that are questions that other people have," Henley said.
Although the old power lines were already there when people moved in, neighbors thought they would never be powered up again and worry property values will plummet.
With a few months left until the beginning of construction, they hope the place they’ve called home for years remains recognizable.