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Swan Pond in Riverside takes an icy beating

RIVERSIDE – By all accounts, Swan Pond in Riverside took quite a beating this winter. Below zero temperatures for extended periods and significant snow contributed to two ice damming incidents on the Des Plaines River, significantly eroding the banks near Swan Pond and stripping trees of their bark.

At the village board's regular meeting on Thursday, Public Works Director Ed Bailey broke down the situation for trustees, who seemed familiar with the current damages. Village President Ben Sells called the situation at Swan Pond "a disaster."

"Swan Pond has clearly taken a beating this winter," Bailey said.

According to Bailey, an asphalt path that leads along the riverbank near Swan Pond was partially eroded due to the ice dams and flooding that occurred. Numerous trees have been stripped of bark and a large amount of wood debris litters the area. Most concerning for Bailey was the significant erosion of the river banks upstream from Swan Pond.

The most significant erosion damage was sustained at the north end of Swan Pond near a culvert, which Bailey said his department planned to repair. The village will have to apply for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before starting work. .

The tree debris in the area will at least be partially addressed through a volunteer service day with help from Riverside Brookfield High School students and a volunteer work day with help from members of the Olmsted Society. Bailey said he believed many of the large trees would be able to recover, but significant tree work will need to wait until closer to summer when the ground dries out, which will include the removal of another 20 ash trees from the area.

Bailey said it will take "lots of man hours to put Swan Pond back into shape."

Village President Ben Sells briefly suggested possibly moving the asphalt path between the river and Swan Pond, which Bailey admitted was vulnerable to erosion, but the logistics of such a plan put the idea on hold.

Sells also took the opportunity to praise the public works department for their work over a trying winter season, which Bailey said was much to staff's credit and that he was very pleased with their efforts.

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