In light of the fact that the Swan Pond has endured possibly the worst circumstances imaginable, why don’t we hold off on the removal of the (at least) 13 major trees I see marked for destruction. 

I distinctly remember that some of these trees were not visibly in poor health last year, and though they may be ash trees, can’t some of them survive? There are ash trees all around — in public spaces, on private property, in the Forest Preserve directly across the river — that are not being removed. If they are infected, is it certain they will die? All of them? Each and every one of them? And if so, what is the loss if they are allowed to first flag and then be removed? What does that hurt?

The Swan Pond has lost upwards of 50 trees already. Because, at least in part, of the ill-conceived and poorly executed work of the Army Corps we are left with a badly damaged park that may well be set up for frequent, repeated events like those we have had — record flooding, breakups of the Army Corps-repaired sections of the river wall, erosion of the path, etc. Why can’t we have a hiatus in cutting more trees until the park is cleaned up and repaired?

Surely it must now be evident to anyone that the construction of that culvert linking the park and the river will result in more days of flooding, not less. And it must also be evident that the decades-long neglect of the river wall and its shoddy repair by the Army Corps must be reversed. 

Just look at the 75-year-old sections of the wall done by the WPA and CCC workers, who, though unskilled, had expert supervision. The Army Corps’ work was both unskilled and unsupervised, and it is to Riverside’s shame that such patently substandard work was accepted.

There is no free lunch. There is no something for nothing. The great cry was that the village was facilitating the removal of the dams through the granting of easements, because we were getting “free” work done in the Swan Pond. So look at what we got. 

Let’s not go further and slaughter more mature trees until we correct (no doubt at our considerable expense) the harm the park has suffered. 

Since the removal of the dams we have seen several flood events of a scale beyond anything previously recorded. We have an ugly fixture in place that results in water flowing into the park as well as out of it. Cutting more mature trees — at this time — seems to just compound the problem.

Donald Spatny

Riverside