The Army Corps, village or USGS have now marked what looks like several dozen major trees in the Swan Pond for cutting. Some of them are no doubt well over 100 years old, all appear to be perfectly healthy, so this cutting and removal is just for the regrading part of the dam project. There are also new markers in for the culvert and the boulder tail that will extend about 50 feet and 10 feet wide from it.

Last week after the heavy rains that raised the river level about three feet there was no standing water in the Swan Pond. So if this is being done just for rare instances when the river floods it seems to me to be an unconscionable act.

These trees are beautiful and provide much of the shade in the Swan Pond and a large part of the tree canopy seen from above in Guthrie Park. When they are gone they will surely be missed, and no one living today in Riverside will ever see their like again.

The Corps appears to be abetted in doing whatever it likes – or nearly so – and their performance to date at the Swan Pond seems to call in the question of this decision. The allocated $25,000 to repair the breaks in the river wall – where they will cut many more trees – and fixing just three breaks and restoring the top row of blocks to its previous height should stop 90 percent of the flooding. So why regrade so drastically and cut these majestic trees?

I thought this was the Village in the Forest, where people cared about and for trees, not wantonly cut them to put concrete structures in the parks.

So far the Corps has not removed one single load of debris from the dam removal as their plan called for. They removed no sediment and erected no turbidity curtain downstream of their work as the IEPA called on them to do.

The way they have been spreading the dam debris, will result, if left in place, in very shallow water between the dam remnants and the bridge where all manner of debris will collect. The boulders will attract and retain trash and debris coming down the river, and the boulders they will put in the culvert swale will grow weeds and be unable to be mowed. Who will maintain that?

I find it difficult to understand how people can go along with cutting these trees for such a minor – if it works at all – result. Wouldn’t it make sense to have the river wall repair done with a judicious cutting of trees along the wall where required, and the path put in this year and then wait and see what the effect is, and then and only then, if that doesn’t solve most of the problem, they could do the regrade next year? This is supposed to be a three-year project anyway. Why go ahead and cut these trees and build that atrocious culvert if the river wall repair works?

By the way, someone is back at painting entire trees on the forest preserve side of the river. They just did an entire tree in bright red right across from where the trash barrel is on the path. A couple years ago someone painted a tree blue that later fell into the river. I

I’ve been finding a lot of bottles and cans on the Riverside side, so the “party” that used to go on up near the bridge in the forest preserve seems to be moving into the Swan Pond park – not a good sign.

Donald Spatny