Edgeville Buzz

Andersonville Residents Upset Over Plans To Cut Down Area Trees Including 6 Century-Old Maples

Affected Maples on Farragut.

A planned weekly Andersonville water main construction meeting is likely to be a little more attended tomorrow morning as East Andersonville residents have received word that 16 or more area trees will be cut down in order to complete the project. According to a flyer circulated throughout the neighborhood, this will include at least six century-old maples and catalpas that are so large it will permanently alter the appearance and feel of the quiet, tree-lined streets that are affected.

The water main construction that has taken over Andersonville since the beginning of the year has worked its way along Clark Street. The project has since moved to the side streets which includes includes Farragut (between Clark & Glenwood), Berwyn (between Clark & Glenwood), Summerdale (between Ashland & Glenwood), and Balmoral (between Ashland & Lakewood).

Both the old and new water mains lie underneath the street parallel to the curbs on the north side of Farragut, Berwyn and Summerdale. Private sewer lines that carry waste from nearby buildings currently run over the water mains on those streets. According to the current State of Illinois EPA regulations, sewer pipes must run below the water main. To comply with Illinois EPA Title 35: Environmental Protection, Subtitle F: Public Water Supplies, the private sewers need to be replaced ten feet on both sides of each cross-over.

In order to replace the sewers, construction crews will need to dig three foot wide trenches to install them. Roots in the construction path could be severely damaged thus destroying parts of the trees. So the city made a decision to proactively cut the trees down including six mature maples and catalpas at 1436 W. Farragut, 1438 W. Farragut, 1448 W. Farragut, 1410 W. Berwyn, 1426 / 1428 W. Summerdale, and 1438-42 W. Summerdale.

“I am very unhappy about what I consider to be an irrational and unbalanced assessment of this,'” said Julie Wlach who is a board member of the East Andersonville Residents Council (EARC). “These decisions are forcing residents to forfeit the benefits of these trees for risks that have very low probability. We are talking about mature trees that have provided environmental benefits for decades and we want them to continue to do that. If cut down, they will be lost forever.”

Opponents of the plan say that mature trees provide many environmental benefits as well as shade, cooling, and beauty. According to them, planting new trees requires 50-70 years before they can match the CO2 absorption of older, well-established trees.

“No one is very happy about this and there is always a solution. It really depends on who is going to help provide the answer,” said Lesley Ames who chairs EARC’s Tree Committee. “There is a possibility to solve this. It’s just a matter of time and money in order to save these trees.”

A couple ideas have already been talked about. It has been discussed to use a special team to carefully dig around the roots of the mature trees to minimize damage. Another thought was to utilize a special clause in EPA Title 35 that allows for special conditions that help work around the sewer line regulation.

However, time is running out as trees on affected side streets could be cut down as early as next week.

Those wanting to help in the effort to save the Andersonville trees are asked to attend the water main project weekly update tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Conference Room at 5153 N. Clark, Suite 228.

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