Jan 6, 2022 - News

Lakeview neighbors rally to try and save mature trees

Woman standing in cold
Lakeview tree advocate Ilya Soussa speaks to neighbors about saving local trees. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

A group of neighbors in West Lakeview is urging Mayor Lori Lightfood and the Department of Water Department (CDWM) to spare 29 mature trees set for destruction next week as part of water main work.

Why it matters: Mature trees capture stormwater, create shade, absorb carbon and require many decades to replace.

  • New water main replacement technology can make digging up trees unnecessary and neighbors allege the city has not fully explored these alternatives.

What they're saying: DWM officials say they've explored other technologies but found them unsatisfactory and that alternative methods like "pipe bursting" would require the department to consult with ComEd and Peoples Gas and bid out a new contract.

The other side: Tree advocate Caroline Teichner asked on Facebook why the CDWM "didn't have these conversations with the utilities months ago … before plowing ahead with the project?"

Context: Andersonville neighbors made a similar push in 2019 to save their trees from water work through new alternative pipe lining methods used in about half of U.S. pipe repair projects in 2017 according to a CDC report.

What's next: The West Lakeview Trees group along with Ald. Matt Martin (47th) are meeting with CDWM in coming days to discuss alternate plans or a delay.

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