Berwynites concerned over taxpayer-funded tree maintenance

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Photo courtesy of Save Berwyn Trees

Over the past three years, the city of Berwyn has spent roughly $1 million in tree-trimming maintenance. Some citizens have expressed concerns not only because the program is funded by taxpayer money, but for the sake of the trees themselves.

Resident Edward Allard has become the unofficial Lorax for the city after publicly speaking out against the tree-trimming program and by writing his blog, Save Berwyn Trees. Allard argues that too much of the foliage on the trees are being removed, resulting in the plant life to be starved of nutrition.

On his blog, Allard writes:

“Numerous trees in Berwyn, Ill. are being excessively pruned, having a large amount of foliage bearing branches removed. These trees are having their crowns raised too high, including many being ‘lion’s tailed.’ This severe degradation of our trees needs to be stopped. Also, some apparently healthy trees are being cut down.”

Despite the negative feedback from some Berwynites, it is normal for a city or village to spend money to maintain its trees. Oak Park, with a reported 19,000 trees on village property, spent $584,000 in 2012 and 2013 on tree-trimming. Berwyn, with a reported 13,000 trees on city property, spent $515,000 in 2014 on tree trimming, according to Katie Drews of the Better Government Association.

Don’t let those numbers mislead you, though. Assistant City Administrator Evan Summers said, “We don’t have the funds to prune [the trees] every few years. We have to do them once every 10 years.”

There is no doubt that the trees around the city are appearing more barren, but it may only be because they won’t be touched for a few years.  Do you believe that the city’s trees are being defaced? Or do you believe the government is carrying out its duty to maintain city property?

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