PEORIA -- On Tuesday, Feb. 23, without any warning to neighbors, Illinois American Water Co. sent in a crew to quickly cut down seven beautiful, mature trees on its property at the intersection of Crestwood and Grand.
It was over in a flash -- and the flowering trees that brightened this intersection every spring were down. Peoria has no ordinances to protect its trees from developers and others who wantonly destroy them.
Other cities protect their trees which provide habitat for birds and wildlife, provide shade, save energy, and supply both oxygen and beauty. Numerous studies have shown that neighborhoods with trees are more valuable and the residents happier and healthier. Nevertheless, the tree cutting continues in Peoria.Outraged, I complained to the Peoria mayor's office and the water company. Here is the reply from the water company, then my response:
We were notified of your concern with the recent tree removal on Illinois
American Water Peoria District’s Grand Boulevard #2 booster station and
water tank site. We take the feedback from our customers very seriously.
I wanted to reach out to you and explain why these trees were removed.
A total of seven trees were removed from this site. Six of the trees
removed were tall locust trees that have suffered a lot of storm damage
over the last few years. These trees were tall and brittle enough that the
possibility of them hitting the nearby power lines was a concern. These
power lines not only power the residential homes in the area, but also our
In addition to the locust trees, a large cottonwood within close proximity
to a building at the location was removed due to possible falling limbs.
Also, cottonwoods can produce a lot of the seeds in the spring. If these
seeds are pulled into the ventilation systems or motors on the site, our
operations and equipment could be significantly impacted.
I hope this information helps you to understand the reason behind the tree
removal. I personally met with the tree service contractor at the site to
evaluate each tree. The trees that we were able to keep were pruned to
improve their condition.
We plan to plant several smaller trees later this year that mature at a
shorter height and won’t put our facilities or the power lines at risk. We
have worked hard to improve the appearance of this facility over the last
few years and will continue to do so. Please feel free to contact me at
the number below if you have additional concerns or questions.
Here's my response to DougTennis (whom I have never met nor spoken with), and Mayor Ardis to whom he sent a copy, and someone named KCollier:
"Those were beautiful, flowering trees, and cannot easily be replaced. At least not in my lifetime.
Excuses can always be found to cut trees. Any tree on Crestwood or Maple Ridge might fall on a power line -- so should we cut down all of them? Everywhere?You guys have a big generator sitting there that could fill in during an emergency.
More likely somebody wanted the contract to do it. Kickbacks? Anything is possible in today's world of greed.Or is it a few dollars cheaper not to mow around the trees, which sheltered birds and wildlife?
If the city of Peoria had a decent ordinance protecting its trees this likely would not have happened.
I'm very disappointed. But not surprised."-- Elaine Hopkins