Please note that the City’s action was the result of an internal department protocol designed to protect public safety and property, and that Alderman Smith was not made aware of this action prior to any removals. Had she received prior notification of this action, she would have insisted the Bureau of Forestry notify the adjacent neighbors and make them aware of this pending removal.
In response to the historic weather conditions resulting from the Polar Vortex gripping the region this winter, the City of Chicago’s Bureau of Forestry conducted multiple City- and 43rd Ward – wide surveys to assess any tree-related damage this weather may have caused. These were done in order to ensure proper public safety precautions were in place as we enter into the spring thaw. During this time, a number of trees were deemed to have been damaged to the point that no rehabilitation was possible, and the Bureau of Forestry scheduled the trees for removal to reduce any public safety hazards from falling limbs or collapsed trees.
While the Alderman regrets the removal of trees that occurred without much notice to residents, and she has strongly communicated her displeasure to the Bureau of Forestry for their lack of prior notification, her primary responsibility is and will always be to ensure the safety of 43rd Ward residents.
That said, she will continue to work with those residents impacted by these removals on potential options to replace these trees in the near future. Should residents like further information on this matter, they are encouraged to contact Robert Wallace, Alderman Smith’s Director of Constituent Services, at 773-348-9500 and he will be able to assist them further.