Some residents of Arlington Heights' Cedar Glen neighborhood are encouraging village leaders to seek an alternative to cutting down 177 ash trees infested by the emerald ash borer.
Homeowners in the southeast side neighborhood are planning to appear before the Arlington Heights Village Board on Monday, Nov. 7, to make their case for treatment of the trees instead of their removal.
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Emerald ash borers have infested parkway ash trees in the neighborhood north of Algonquin Road and east of Arlington Heights Road so severely that they must be removed, according to a report last month from the village's Public Works Department.
But Patti Mora, one of the organizers urging her neighbors to attend next week's board meeting, said she wants to be sure that all the trees are beyond treatment before they are cut down.
"One man on the street had a big old tree removed, and if his ash tree is taken down, too, the house will look like it dropped out of the sky," said Mora. "A lot of the people moved here because of the trees."
The village board voted funds to remove the trees, but has not yet committed to paying for replacing them, fearful of what the ultimate bill could be villagewide. Of the 36,000 parkway trees in Arlington Heights, 13,000 are ashes, the public works department said.
The village currently removes about 175 ash trees a year -- about 1,200 since 2006 -- for various reasons at a cost of $325,000.
Removing all the parkway ash trees in the village would cost $6.4 million. Replacing them would cost another $5.1 million.
Treating all the ash trees by injection would cost $1.6 million, according to the public works report, and that would have to be repeated every two or three years.
Saving ash trees has become an emotional topic in mature suburbs like Arlington Heights. A group of residents in one Mount Prospect neighborhood has pooled resources to treat parkway ash trees rather than see them removed, and a similar resident-driven effort is under way in Bartlett.