All of Lemont's Ash Trees Could Disappear

Lemont's ash trees have not survived infestation by emerald ash borers, and it will be costly for the Village to replace them.

Blame it on the green bug. 

Lemont will lose nearly all of its 2,000 ash trees to infestation by emerald ash borers, Public Works Director Ralph Pukula told CBS. 

At a cost of $250–300 for removal and disposal for each tree, the Village may have to dip into its fund balance to cover the cost, Mayor Brian Reaves said Monday. 

But the borer burden goes beyond the task of tearing them down and chopping them up. Residents have grown accustomed to the trees towering in public parkways and yards. 

"The trees added so much to the community," resident Nancy Tokarz told CBS. "You can see them dying before your eyes."

Lemont Public Works Director Ralph Pukula told trustees Monday that trees near power lines, or those that are a danger to people or property, will be higher priority for removal.

The trees must be disposed of by a licensed hauler—then ground and treated, Mayor Brian Reaves said during the meeting.

The Village is researching options for replacing the trees; for every five it cuts down, Lemont can only afford to plant one. 

Residents who believe an ash tree nearby might be infested should contact Public Works. For those like Tokarz whose love for the trees have grown over time, the trees' demise is devastating. 

“It’s like a member of your family,” Torkarz told CBS. "...It's heartbreaking."

Watch the full segment on CBS. 

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B.S. Buster June 19, 2014 at 09:29 AM
The only guarantee is that without it taxpayer revenue (taxes, fines and fees) is the only revenue in the village. Guaranteed! Kudos to the village leaders for finding an outside the box revenue source from willfully paid fees! Respectfully Bartholomew Sylvester Buster III
Joe Mann June 19, 2014 at 11:16 AM
I think there is a guarantee that the "Sportsplex" will not pay for itself. If you add up all the related expenses, which are guaranteed, and you consider that income is not guaranteed, you can start to see what a risky venture the "Sportsplex" is. If you do the expense math over the life of the lease from MWRD and the loan for the "Sportsplex" you realize that expenses from start to finish could approach $100,000,000. The business model for the "Sportsplex" has no credible logic to show how the "Sportsplex" can generate that kind of money. So that leaves the Lemont taxpayers on the hook for an amount of money that can bankrupt the village, damage the towns credit rating, drive up taxes, lower property values, turn away people and new businesses from coming to Lemont, .... you get the picture. Any reasonable cost-benefit analysis would have told our towns leaders that the "Sportsplex" project is an inevitable loss for the town and it's taxpayers. And yet they are still trying to pull it off. It seems like the town board is selling us up the canal. We should be questioning the town board's motivations and competency for office. We need an action plan for putting new people in office who care about the welfare of Lemont.
B.S. Buster June 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Pardon me if we don't shake hands. I know where you pulled your "$100 million" figure from! There , in fact, is a financial analysis on line at the village web site says a 'plex gonna make a lot of money. Only people say otherwise are the LUVers and tea Partiers pursuing their political agendas with a propensity to make up numbers! Respectfully, Bartholomew Sylvester Buster III
Alan June 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM
Buster, you are the one making up things here.


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