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After spending last year focusing on sprucing up Scottswood Common, the Frederick Law Olmsted Society has turned its attention to reclaiming an overgrown sidewalk along the Des Plaines River near Riverside Road that leads to Miller Woods.

On Aug. 8, about 30 volunteers, both adults and children, along with Village Forester Michael Collins cleared the sidewalk and the area bordering it of buckthorn, wild grape vines and other plants. About one-third of the sidewalk along the river located southeast from Olmsted Road was made usable once again.

In addition, clearing out the buckthorn, which grew in some case to 20 feet or more, has restored views of the river to residents living across Riverside Road.

The Olmsted Society will focus at least two more workdays on clearing the rest of the sidewalk, which leads to the footpath into Miller Woods, which in the 19th century was the site of a brewery (some old storage tanks reportedly still are there).

“We want to clean the sidewalk so people can get to the entrance of Miller Woods,” said Holly Machina, co-chairwoman for the workdays. “There’s a lot more work to do over there.”

Machina wants residents to be able to visit Miller Woods, which she describes as a hidden gem.

The next Olmsted workday is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29 at 9 a.m. Volunteers should head to the area along Riverside Road, southeast of Olmsted Road. Look for the Riverside Public Works truck.

-Bob Uphues

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