Mount Prospect will allow residents to treat ash trees located on village owned parkways in hopes of preventing or slowing the destructive emerald ash borer.
Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the partnership, under which residents who feel attached to the trees can treat them with pesticides in a last-ditch effort to save them.
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However, residents are on a bit of a short leash. If the village feels that a tree has become so badly infested it poses a hazard, the tree will be removed.
"We're going to be very concerned about the residents' desire here to do the right thing and try to get them to do the right thing," Trustee Steven Polit said. "(But) we don't want the tree falling on their house either."
The decision Tuesday came as a reaction to repeated calls from residents asking the village to take measures to save trees before removing them. Many homeowners fear taking down the trees would irrevocably change the nature and aesthetics of their neighborhoods.
One of those citizens, Thornwood Lane resident Ronald Bare, thanked the board for providing the option. However, he said a village notice telling residents that Mount Prospect does not recommend treating trees was counterproductive and would discourage residents from adopting the trees.
"I wish that the notification had been a bit more balanced," he said.
Trustee Paul Hoefert said he appreciated Bare's input.
"He obviously is passionate about this," he said. "I think we're all very passionate about trees in Mount Prospect. We're a Tree City USA."
"We all hope and pray that this plan will work and the residents will respond to the opportunity that we're trying to go ahead and give them in this ordinance," Trustee A. John Korn added. "We are trying everything that we can possibly do to save every one of these ... without cutting them all down."
Despite the optimism, Public Works Director Sean Dorsey said the view of the village remains that the emerald ash borer is not going to go away.