CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago advocacy groups continue to fight the removal of trees in Jackson Park.
They say plans to expand the Jackson Park golf course mean hundreds more trees will fall – on top of the more than 800 trees that will disappear once construction on the Obama presidential center is complete. As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, the organizations formally petitioned the city on Monday.
They want the golf course expansion plan put to a vote; for the city to allow those who live near Jackson Park to have a say in whether trees are chosen or not.
Jackson Park is full of arboreal beauty. And you’d be in a hurry to find someone who knows and appreciates them like Jeannette Hoyt does.
She pointed to a tree called an “inheritance tree” or “heritage tree”, which she said is “probably about 150 years old”.
“Those are valuable,” Hoyt said.
And that’s why Hoyt, and a number of others, are determined to make sure they don’t go anywhere.
“Why are we cutting all this for a golf course?” she says.
Hoyt is an educator who has worked with for years in South Side communities, and a founding member of Save Jackson Park. She says expansion plans for the Tiger Woods Redesign of the Jackson Park Golf Course means the loss of the South Rim Natural Sanctuary and all the trees therein.
“According to the diagrams we obtained from TGR DESIGNall of those trees, for the most part, will be gone,” Hoyt said.
What differentiates this project from other city projects?
“It’s so many trees,” Hoyt said.
That’s what she and others fought for – delivering a number of petitions with hundreds of signatures to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
The request is “to put a referendum on the ballot in three constituencies in the 5th arrondissement” for the next elections in June, said Marc Lipinski of Southsiders for Trees.
“Chicagoans should have the opportunity to say, in an open forum, whether clearcutting 1,000 more trees is a good idea,” Lipinski said.
We’ve reached the Chicago Park District with all of this – including a claim on Twitter that the Jackson Park golf course plan will involve the felling of 2,106 additional trees at Jackson Park and the South Shore Nature Sanctuary – in addition to the 865 trees that will be cut for the Obama Center.
The Park District released this statement:
“As the primary stewards of greening the city, the Chicago Park District is committed to preserving and growing the city’s parks and tree population within our 8,800-acre footprint. Our commitment is highlighted by the fact that we plant 3,000 trees a year and convert nearly 1,100 acres of underutilized space to valuable parkland over the past decade.These investments improve our communities and contribute greatly to the lives of children and families in our entire city As with any capital undertaking that requires the removal of trees, the District is committed to replacing every tree as part of the scope of the project.
“The published Jackson Park/South Shore document is a draft proposal and any references related to tree reductions have not been reviewed or approved by the Park District, and therefore should not be considered a finalized plan. .”
The Chicago District Golf Association referred questions to the Chicago Parks Golf Alliancewho had not issued a comment on Tuesday evening either.