West Lakeview Neighbors Want Every Option Explored To Keep Trees From Being Cut Down For City Water Pipe Replacement – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) – Dozens of trees may have been slated to get the ax in West Lakeview and residents have mobilized to stop it.

As the CBS 2 political investigator, Dana Kozlov, reported on Wednesday evening, these residents do not want a repeat of the virtual clearcuts in other neighborhoods. They want every preservation option to be explored.

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The trees are decades old and pile up – one of them is about 10 times larger than Kozlov himself, who is just over five feet tall. They could all be dismantled by the city for water pipe replacement in the next few months.

As a result, some residents of the area are proactive, taking action and asking the city to be more transparent about their plans.

The trees mean a lot to those who live on a two-block stretch of Paulina Street in West Lakeview – from Belmont Avenue to the six-way intersection with Lincoln Avenue and Roscoe Streets.

“The trees in the neighborhood are very important to the people,” says Caroline Teichner.

That’s why they reached out to us when it became known that the city might cut down more than 20 trees in the two blocks.

“It’s just a devastating prospect,” said Rosemary Feit.

According to Ald. Matt Martin (47), the tree felling is part of a water pipe replacement project due to begin after the holidays. But there was no official notice to local residents – which is a major concern.

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“It feels like it’s going to happen under cover of darkness – which doesn’t seem like good public order to me,” said Feit.

So go mobile – start a Facebook page to get the word out and get the city to explore all possible options while saving the trees and replacing the aqueduct at the same time.

“Until we are convinced that the city has actually considered and explored alternatives,” said Teichner. “That feels like a pretty drastic solution.”

Three months ago, Andersonville residents tried unsuccessfully to save trees in this North Side neighborhood. Their removal is also due to the replacement of water pipes.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Water Management says saving trees is a priority, but they often don’t know if you can save one until they start digging. But West Lakeview’s neighbors want more information about the plans long before the excavation even begins.

“Give the people concrete steps they can take to express their concerns,” said Teichner.

Ald. Martin said he has asked the city’s water department for a list of all the options available to minimize the number of trees that will be lost to the upcoming project. He’s still waiting to get it.

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When the project will start, water ministry spokeswoman Megan Vidas said it is scheduled after the holidays. The alderman is hoping for a community meeting before the start of the project – but he is also waiting for more specific information.

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