Loss Of 50 Mature Trees In Little Italy A Tragedy
Courtesy of DNAinfo:
Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, said the tearing down of mature honey locust trees this week on private property in Little Italy's Garibaldi Square subdivision should have been avoided.
"A beautiful tree lined, u-shaped street is now being decimated," he said of the area just north of Garibaldi Park at South Laflin and West Harrison streets. "It's awful. Huge trees are being cut down inside the complex."
Garibaldi Square's Homeowners Association decided to tear down the trees after some townhome owners reported damaged water mains, sewer line breaks or damaged foundations, according to neighbors familiar with the project. The pipes were believed to have been broken by the roots of trees that line separate the driveways in the subdivision, and the association contended they must be removed because the roots were too close to the buildings.
According to an e-mail from Lothar Greski, who served as president of the association until Aug. 1, the board finalized the decision to tear down the trees after two community meetings this spring on the proposed removal. A tree removal company was on site cutting down trees Wednesday.
"Tree roots cannot possibly break through concrete or sewer pipes unless the concrete or pipe is already cracked and damaged. I have seen hundreds of trees growing even closer to houses without any issues," said O'Neill, who lives four blocks from Garibaldi Square. "This is a real common myth that we've fought for decades."
While the tear down happened on private property under the jurisdiction of the homeowners association, O'Neill said that the trees were intended to benefit the entire community. When the subdivision was designed in the mid-1980s, Little Italy leaders, including O'Neill, asked architects to design the trees into the complex.
While the condo association might see the trees as a nuisance, O'Neill said he's focused on the bigger picture. In the aftermath of the emerald ash borer infestation, which killed nearly 100,000 ash trees in the city, every tree counts, he said.
Environmental impact aside, O'Neill said cutting down the mature trees leaves a street that now "looks awful," and comes after the removal of honey locust trees on Loomis Street years ago that were never replaced.