The tree has been bulldozed to make way for a fitness center, despite pleas that it be saved. So much for Bradley U’s commitment to a sustainable environment. (For more on this tree, see stories under 'environment' category.)
The copper beech is just the latest in a long series of large trees that have been destroyed in Peoria, a town that lacks any ordinance to protect them.
Powerful private organizations like Bradley, and developers are not the only culprits in tree destruction.
Peoria County cut down large, older trees to build a World War I and II monument, removing valuable shade on the courthouse square.
The First Methodist Church in downtown Peoria recently cut down trees by its building so crows would not roost in them and foul the sidewalks. Twinkle lights in the trees, as used at Ravina near Chicago, would have discouraged the birds
Nearby homeowners report that displaced wildlife are causing problems for them. Several homes near the site of destruction have ‘for sale’ signs in their front yards.
Tree clearing by the city a few years ago at the Allen Road-War Memorial intersection has left an ugly, weedy site devoid of any landscaping or beauty. In some ways it’s worse than that ugliest of commercial strips along University south of War Memorial.
Ameren/CILCO regularly butchers trees instead of putting resources into burying its power lines.
The Illinois Department of Transportation removed scores of trees that once buffered neighborhoods from the traffic noise of Interstate 74, in its upgrade of that freeway. People complained to no avail.
Other Illinois cities protect their trees and require permits and public hearings before they can be removed, but not Peoria. Such an ordinance might have caused Bradley U. officials to think twice before destroying that copper beech because of a badly designed building.
But a proposed tree protection ordinance in Peoria like those in other cities was quietly sold out in a compromise that gave developers points for retaining old trees in their landscaping plans.
This woefully inadequate ordinance may not apply to many of the tree butchers, from Bradley University to the County, the Park District and the Methodist church.
It seems that whenever the powerful decide to build monuments in whatever form to themselves, trees are expendable.
The shade they provide, the habitat for other life forms, even their mitigation of global warning don’t matter. What arrogance!
COMMENT. via email, 7/27/07: "What a beautiful cooper beech! I am more than a little irked that people wantonly destroy trees. Not only should trees be allowed to be trees, but they are valuable habitats for wildlife, they are beautiful, and they help keep carbon levels down
At a time when Mayor Bloomberg is going to have NYC plant a million trees, we are cutting them down here in Peoria. Shame on Peoria for not have an ordinance that protects tree.