LA GRANGE PARK – At the end of July, La Grange Park's Public Works Director Brendan McLaughlin removed a sign on a local elm tree which stated, "Please Don't Cut Me Down. I am the most beautiful and tallest tree in all of La Grange Park."
The sign was posted on an elm tree located on Woodlawn and Dover avenues, according to Public Works receptionist Becky Srejma. She said the sign was posted on the 46-inch tree by someone other than the resident who's property the tree sits on.
According to Srejma, the resident whose tree was fliered told the department they have no issue with the tree being taken down, as it has Dutch elm disease and it is deteriorating quickly.
"The last thing [the village] wants to do is cut down a tree," Srejma said.
About 20 or 30 years ago, when La Grange Park experienced an outbreak of trees with Dutch elm disease, the village replaced most of them with ash trees, according to Srejma. Now the village is dealing with those trees, again, and the plague of the emerald ash borer .
With 1300 infested trees in total, the village removed nearly 300 last year and is in the process of removing about 227 in the next four to six weeks, Srejma said.
Along with the planned removals, there is a watch list of about 250 additional trees who have the emerald ash borer.
Although the public works department would like to save the trees, the expense is too much to take on.
"If we could treat [the trees], we would," Srejma said. "We'd love to keep the elms if we could."