Neighbors near Legion Park upset after trees cut down for river project

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CHICAGO — Neighbors near Legion Park along the north branch of the Chicago River got quite the surprise.

Dozens of trees were cut down on the east bank, between Foster and Bryn Mawr, as part of the North Branch Chicago River Habitat Restoration Project.

“Honestly it is a little upsetting to look at because there are so many trees down,” neighbor Joanie Le said. “I’ve seen some shocked looks especially people that come here on a regular basis.”

The bulk of the trees were gone in 24 hours. The brush and logged were stacked up, some thrown in dumpsters.

“None of the neighbors got any notice before the work was being done,” 40th Ward Ald. Andre Vasquez said. “To see a press release come out after the work was done, there is a severe breakdown in communication there.”

The project, spearheaded by the Army Corps of Engineers, is aimed at improving the quality of the river itself. The next step is grading work to level out slopes and reduce erosion. Then, native planting will follow.

“I was very distressed in terms of climate change, this is not a good there,” Neighbor Michael Feisthammel said. “There are some 75, 80, 100 years old when they built the channel.”

The neighbors and Ald. Vasquez felt like a little heads up would have been nice.


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