When architects designed Kessler Park in the early 1920s, they left the oldest trees and laid the streets to match the natural landscape. Twenty triangular pocket parks were planned, and stone steps offered pedestrian passageways between hilly streets.
Some of those steps remain open and usable, such as the ones from Belleau Drive up to Windomere.
But at least one set of the original Kessler Park steps became overgrown with brush and bamboo and forgotten for years. These steps, from Kessler Parkway at Edgefield up to Canterbury Court, have become the subject of a neighborhood fight.
About a year ago, City Councilman Scott Griggs found bond money that could’ve paid to reopen and restore the steps. But some neighbors living closest to the steps, on Canterbury, opposed reopening them. So Griggs instead used the bond funds to extend the Coombs Creek Trail.
Since the steps are on a 30-foot public right of way between homes, a few neighbors took it upon themselves to clear the steps, working with machetes to cut away tall bamboo.
Because there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood, the steps are convenient for pedestrians wishing to walk from Kessler Parkway toward Colorado.
“It can be dangerous to walk on Edgefield,” says Kessler Park resident Don Sanders.
Sanders says neighbors living closest to the steps have shooed people trying to clear the steps and even threatened to call the police, claiming they were trespassing. One neighbor declined to comment. One did not return phone calls. And a third just moved in a few weeks ago.
Neighbors on Canterbury asked the city to close the steps because of safety concerns, so orange barriers block them at Edgefield and Canterbury, even though they’re usable.