City Program Helps Homeowners Replace Ash Trees

The 50/50 Parkway Tree Planting Program will offset some of the costs for Oak Forest residents who want to replace trees removed because of emerald ash borer infestation.

As a way to help undo some of the damage caused by the emerald ash borer, the City of Oak Forest has set up an initiative that will let homeowners offset some of the costs of planting new trees in the parkways in front of their homes.

READ: What's That Pink Dot? City Marks Trees Infested with Emerald Ash Borer for Removal

The new 50/50 Parkway Tree Planting Program works like this, according to a city press release:

  • A homeowner can pick an approved-species of tree—ash trees will not be allowed—and have it planted in the parkway in front of his or her home after getting a free city planting permit.
  • The homeowner then gives the city the paid bill, so he or she can be reimbursed utp to half the cost to a maximum of $150 per tree.

An infestation of emerald ash borers is marked by the metallic-green beetles eating their way under the bark of ash trees, permanently damaging the trees. The beetle, which only attacks ash trees, was first sighted in Oak Forest in December 2009. In that time, the Oak Forest Public Works Department has been responsible for having more than 1,800 ash trees removed from around the city. Crews removed the last infested ash tree in February.

A grant from the Oak Forest Social Services Corp., which helps the city make social improvements, is helping to fund this effort, the release stated, adding that overall funding for the project is limited. Requests will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis, and homeowners wishing to participate need to complete a planting permit from the program, the release continued.

READ: Final Ash Tree Cut Down in Oak Forest

The permit applications, as well as reimbursement request forms, can be found on the city's website. The rules and guidelines for this program also can be found on the site.

The City of Oak Forest also has partnerships with Spring Grove Nursery in Mazon, IL, and iTrees.com to help replenish the tree population, the release stated. For every 10 trees purchased through this agreement, Oak Forest will receive a free tree that will be planted along city streets, the release added.


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phxdr April 15, 2013 at 07:01 PM
William- Like everything there is good and bad. You fail to mention that many water mains also lie directly under the parkway trees. When winds blow them over, they pull up the ground and do in many cases break the mains. Many have rot and threaten homes and structures. I am not saying they are bad. You however want to only show the pros of having the trees and not the many cons.
chuck toland April 15, 2013 at 07:38 PM
I am pretty sure the city will eventually replace all the parkway trees that were cut down. We have been looking for alternate sources of revenue for over 2-years like grants to help defer the cost from the Oak Forest residents. As Doug mentioned, even if we get grants from the Federal, State or County government, the money does come from the tax payer, but grant money would be used by the Federal, State or County government regardless if it were used in our backyard or not. It is to our advantage to try and get grant money to pay for the replacement of the trees. Until we have funds to plant new trees, this 50/50 program is an incentive for those who would like a tree planted sooner than later. Those who do not want to pay anything will need to wait for available funds. We have put rules in place to hopefully diversify our trees in the city so that if some other bug comes around, we won't have the catastrophic results we had with the EAB. Targeted goals are to have no more than 10% of one species to create biodiversity. You can get more information from your alderman, public works or city hall.
RBB April 15, 2013 at 07:56 PM
phxdr Before I answer back I want to say at least everyone replying here is at least civil and respectful, thank you for that. Whether I agree with these people I respect your opinion.OK I get it. Politician waste money. So why didn't you run for mayor last week? He was unopposed. You would have had a good chance to unseat him, did you even vote? Come on the truth now. If you don't vote don't complain. I must have missed that gateway sign, couldn't they put it someplace else since it was paid for? Is the village manager doing a good job in your eyes? If he's doing good then he is getting paid competitive to other communities if not get him out. I missed the Richmond thing, whats he getting paid to do? I would be interested in that also. I was referring to potholes and curbs as maintenance to make the city presentable, and so are trees I would rather see $200,000 spent on trees and street maintenance than on a gateway sign but the grant was for a gateway sign. Of the cost of the sign how much was paid by the village?
phxdr April 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Ebb- I have no intentions of running for a position in oak forest, cook county or Illinois. I am leaving the state (I applied for and passed the written and physical for a fire dept out of state). No place is perfect but this suburb, county, state take the word dysfunctional to a whole new level. I did in fact vote and got several others to vote. The sign could not have been moved. It was at the northwest corner of 159th and Cicero was made of stone. Richmond is getting paid to do the work of part time mayor kuspa. The day to day runnings of the city are the business of the city manager...it is my opinion that this position of secretary to mayor was created for Richmond. The job of government employees is to provide the best possible service to the people who pay their paychecks at the best possible cost. Our current city manager has a very poor record with dealing with the public in my opinion (and that of others).
Richard Simon April 16, 2013 at 04:04 AM
The position of secretary to the mayor has been there throughout history and every mayor has had one. It would be impossible for a mayor to serve if he didn't have someone to answer calls and take care of office business while he was working, and Richmond may be the best I have seen in that position. Doug, your personal dislike for Mr Ishler has been showing through for a long time, Haven't you noticed that no one cares about your imagined problems?
Richard Simon April 16, 2013 at 04:13 AM
There has never been a water main or water service hurt by a tree, even when they blow over(LOL).
Tom S April 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM
The decision to remove all the public land ash trees was a financial one, not one based on tree condition. So instead of a remove/replace strategy based on tree health, the city decided to remove all remaining ash trees and worry about replacement later. Many trees were removed that had years left in them. It should be noted that other communities have programs to remove the trees over multi-year periods. Probably based on the tree's condition.
RBB April 16, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I saw them cut the trees down on Ridgeland Ave. and I can tell you it was efficient, 9 full size trees in 30 minutes. I am sure there was a savings by cutting all and setting up once to do it. On Ridgeland most were bad to my sight with branches always falling. I would have hated to someone or some ones car get hit by a falling limb. I am sad to see them go but at least we don't have to worry about other trees going bad they are all gone, clean slate!
William Davies April 16, 2013 at 04:38 PM
The sign at 159th and Cicero was prior to the debacle we now call the gateway and it was not made out of stone. In fact, that sign is still in storage somewhere in the city and looked better than what is on that corner now (weeds, and an empty building). As far as the mayor's secretary, of course that position is needed. Only thing is that in a couple of weeks we will have Larry, Curly and Moe back running the city: former mayor Richmond as secretary, fomer mayor Kelly as treasurer and current best day of my life Hank. All retreads. The city desperately needs new blood.
phxdr April 16, 2013 at 04:56 PM
First of all I have had no issue with Mr. Ishler until he showed up at my door yelling. I am not the only one to have a issue with his attitude towards people who pay his paycheck (and yours).
phxdr April 16, 2013 at 05:03 PM
LOL Rich you are so funny! The trees are right above the water mains that run under the parkway. The roots are there and when high winds have blown the trees over in towns across the country, they pull the soil with them and break the water mains LOL LOL LOL LOL. I never said it has happened here in oak forest I said it has happened and does happen LOL LOL LOL
phxdr April 16, 2013 at 05:37 PM
William- It was stone (rather it was stone in the front or complete stone I do not know). It had the welcome to oak forest, the window, the screen that gave messages. The point is that, was that the best use of money? Was it the best idea to have the thing built and then tear it down less than 4 years after it was built? My question with the secretary issue is what is so important that it can not wait, either for the city manager to handle or for Kuspa himself to handle? This is a small suburb of less than 30,000 people, where we have a form of government that includes a city manager. The job of the CM is to handle the day to day operations of the city. What is so important that we have to pay for another full time secretary for our part time mayor? If this is not something new, then it is something that needs to be looked into and re-evaluated.
phxdr April 16, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Here is a link for people (like Simon) who do not grasp what happens when water mains lie directly under trees, with high winds that pull the trees down. It happens all the time around the country. http://www.walb.com/story/21227379/winds-tree-roots-burst-water-line "Saturday's high winds caused the tall pine to sway so much that the roots that were wrapped around the water line shifted, and the water line burst."
William Davies April 16, 2013 at 07:13 PM
That sign was plastic with a facade. The mayor who had it put there was NOT the mayor who took it down. Thank Kelly for that bozo move. Your suggestion that a professional city administrator should also play secretary is ridiculous. There has always been a mayoral secretary. You may not like who is filling the position but the position is necessary. The job of the city adminisrator is to oversee the day to day operations of the city and not to be typing memos and answering phones.
RBB April 16, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I hate to say but I agree with you William. Just because there always was a secretary doesn't mean we should continue it. How many people use to have a secretary and now don't. I agree the CM should NOT do those functions but how much work needs to be done by the secretary. Isn't there staff that's qualified to answer a phone, what about the mayor using email. My basic question is it true that it is part time job at $40,000.00? If so can I have it? No really, if need be I can sit on his lap and get him coffee.
phxdr April 16, 2013 at 08:30 PM
William- So over 200K for a sign made of plastic? Interesting. You did not get my point. I have no issue with Richmond on a personal level. The fact is we have had tax increases...4 years in a row. They have increased the sales tax, we are taxed on our electric, gas, and phone by the city. Something needs to change. We have a community development position (Adam) who is to handle bringing in business. We have a city director who is to handle day to day operations. I want to know what is so important for Richmond to be a full time position that can not wait? There is a thing called voicemail or answering machines for calls regarding the mayor.
Dawn April 16, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Really, homeowners will only get reimbursed half the cost? Ridiculous! City took them out, city should replace them, at no cost! Where the hell does our taxes go??? Oh wait, I know! To all the political crooks! Shame on you Oak Forest!! And who wants to travel all the way to Mazon, IL for a tree? Sounds like someone's getting a 'kickback', hmmm?? What a joke!
Tired of the B.S. April 16, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Just wondering if I put in a tree, on the parkway, by myself (I go get the tree, dig a hole, plant the tree....) will the city reimburse me for half of the cost?
Happy Camper April 17, 2013 at 12:14 AM
The city IS replacing trees AT NO COST to the homeowner. When grant money is available they will get to you. If you want to move yourself to the front of the line you can choose to pay part of the cost. The other advantage to pay some of the money is selecting the species of tree you like from the approved list. The first $25,000 in grant money went to replace trees in Gingerwood. Trees along Ridgeland are being replaced as part of the repaving project being done this summer with grant money. Right now the city is working on Las Robles and planting new trees with grant money.
Bob Laird April 17, 2013 at 12:48 AM
oh my God B.S., how dare you take an initiative? You're supposed to sit back and whine about the village not wiping your butt.
Bob Laird April 17, 2013 at 12:52 AM
We'll go out and spend a thousond buck for a freekin TV, but complain about spending a couple hundo for something that may last longer than us?
Logic Man April 17, 2013 at 01:11 AM
That's why the city has been digging up water pipes all up and down my street for years. The freaking tree roots squeeze the pipes until they burst or they clog up the drainage until the sewers back up into the house.Love city planning that was. There's nothing like having to get up for work and take a shower to find out the water is off again because of another broken pipe.
Tom S April 17, 2013 at 01:38 AM
How many replacement trees is the city going to plant this year?
phxdr April 17, 2013 at 01:52 AM
RBB- I too was under the impression that the position was part time. It is not. The city does a very bad job on the document online that states whom and what each position is. There have been others, who have stated Richmond was incorrectly part time making 40K a year as well (myself included). The position is 40K but is full time. My question is what is so important as to justify a full time position? We have a community developer, a city manager, department heads etc. Everything urgent is covered. Get someone in there that actually IS part time at the very least or do away with the position all together.
phxdr April 17, 2013 at 01:54 AM
Logic Man- I agree. But I was not even talking about the issue you brought up, I was talking about what happens when high winds blow these trees over. They take the soil with them and it has been shown to take water pipes with as well(the pipes in many parts of OF run directly under the parkway trees). I provided Alderman Simon with a link and can provide many more of this happening around the country....I am sorry that I can not get a piece of paper and a crayon to draw it out for him!
Richard Simon April 17, 2013 at 03:05 AM
It has never happened in O.F. or anywhere else around here. I have 50 years of experience dealing with underground construction, and have more knowledge of water and sewer in my little finger than Mr Roper or any of the other posters have in their entire brains. .
Happy Camper April 17, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Tom S. I believe 200 was the number mentioned for the 1st $25,000 grant. 77 was reported as the number to be planted on Ridgelend. I think a second grant of around $20,000 was received and is being used in part for the 50/50 program. How many trees will depend on how many homeowners chose to participate. And NO you do not have to go to Mazon, IL. It is an OPTION being offered and can be ordered on-line with the link in the article. Just remember you need to get your FREE city permit first. It is AMAZING what you can find out by reading ALL the Patch articles and the city web site. Some info was learned by watching the city council meetings on-line or the city cable channel.
phxdr April 17, 2013 at 06:40 AM
Right Rich...it never happens. Did you ever consider it has not happened in Oak Forest because we have not had any recent winds large enough to cause this? A friend of the family is also a carpenter for more than 35 years...it does not make him good at what he does. If it happens around other parts of the country when high winds hit, that means either Oak Forest and surrounding areas have not been hit with hard enough winds to be able to do this or the laws of physics that apply elswhere do not exist in Oak Forest.
Tom S April 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM
To be clear, does the 50/50 program apply to the cost of the tree only? Or does it apply to the tree plus installation?
Richard Simon April 17, 2013 at 04:45 PM
It happened in Georgia but mains there are only required to have 2; of cover. Illinois requires mains to have 5' of cover, big difference. It will never happen here. It is also an old wives tale that roots wrap around the pipe and crush it. Roots infiltrate the sewer pipe through joints and block the sewer. It is vey uncommon to see a broken sewer pipe. Many broken pipes are created by less than honest contractors who break the pipe themselves to make more money.


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