Ms. Weaver, Ms. von der Heide, et all,
I live at the SE corner of 61st and Carpenter Streets, which will undergo a major multi-month construction project starting this spring. My reason for writing (I will follow up with you, Ms. Weaver, if possible prior to Council’s Tuesday meeting), is to see if it is possible to meet with yourself and our Village Forester Ms. von der Heide, and whomever else you feel would be an invested party, for the purpose of discussing modifications to sidewalk placement along Carpenter.
I am not protesting sidewalks, and do not seek to delay or prevent their installation. What I do seek is to keep intact as many non-ash trees along Carpenter as is possible, and to make this an ongoing objective for all future sidewalk projects. This will require rethinking the typical linear 5′ wide sidewalk placed 1′ off property lines. Ms. von der Heide is aware when the sidewalk was placed along 61st Street, that I was in favor of the sidewalk, and devastated by the lack of thinking that went into removal of a 40 year old healthy maple 16′ from the street. When the snow clears you will still be able to plainly see where the botched trunk grind/sodding has resulted in a dead depression in my front yard, and how unnecessary the removal really was.
Moving forward, we as a village must place a prime value to our remaining non-ash, non-invasive mature tree inventory, and be creative in replacing the ash population that we will lose as quickly and affordable as possible.
What I ask the village to consider, and this project can serve as the test bed, is to re-engineer the sidewalk component, to rethink the placement so as to avoid taking down trees.
I’ve looked at the plans- the sidewalks are the typical straight lines, and it looks like they will take out significant numbers of non–ash trees and shrubs. These trees contribute to minimizing the extensive storm water problems my neighbors have to the north on Carpenter, and help keep water from cascading down onto my neighbors to the south. Their loss would be a tragedy, but I believe it can be reduced to an absolute bare minimum by thinking it through starting now, several months ahead of the project. Simple judicious planning, open minded engineering, and sensitive project management can avoid the prospect of any street losing fully grown, mature non-ash tree stock, even with sidewalks being installed for children and pedestrian safety. Having a sidewalk meander slightly as it travels down a parkway is a small price to pay in order to skip 40 years spent growing a replacement tree canopy.
To that end, existing mature non-ash trees on public property and parkways must take priority over future planned sidewalks. This will take a different mindset than what has been normal in the past, but our tree future is not normal, and we cannot take out trees that take 40 years to replace, simply so a sidewalk can be laid in a straight line.
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and whom you think appropriate at a mutually convenient time to discuss this matter in more detail, and I am willing to volunteer my time to assist in any way I am able, to effect a positive change in the sidewalk process that results in saving non-ash trees.
I don’t have Kerstin’s email. I guessed at her e-address, and would appreciate you forwarding this to her if I missed.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to meeting with you on this very important issue.
1109 61st Street,
Downers Grove, IL 60516-1820
HP 630-852-7260 WP 630-515-1186
F 630-515-1189 M 630-750-5179