LEMONT – The Lemont Village Board has agreed to pay Homer Tree Care Inc. to start removing some of its ash trees infected by the emerald ash borer.
The board voted last week in favor of removing at least 252 ash trees in the Glenys and McCarthy Point subdivisions at a cost of $205 per tree.
Public Works Director Ralph Pukula said his department is negotiating with Homer Tree Care on whether to remove more trees this year. The village has $60,000 allocated toward tree removal and replacement, with the intention of completely focusing on tree removal this year.
Mayor Brian Reaves said the village also is looking at the alternative of doing a mass cut of its infected trees and paying the cost over several years.
Reaves said the village is trying to be aggressive while still being cost-effective. He estimated it would cost about $450,000 to remove all of the village’s 2,000 ash trees.
Replacements will cost about $300 per tree, he said.
“It’s a million dollar problem we have now,” he said.
Pukula said the tree removal could start in mid-July.
Reaves said the public works department should try to personally inform residents whose ash trees are being cut down.
The board also approved a bid for $211,068 to repair the Stephen Street bridge over the I&M Canal and the Old Lemont Road bridge over the Des Plaines River. Repair work will include sealing concrete cracks in the structure decks and substructure; cleaning and painting existing bearings; and installing vertical clearance signs, among other things.
Pukula said work on the bridges should start the second or third week of August.
Also last week, Reaves distributed checks to local organizations from the $35,000 collected from the Mayor’s Drive for Charity.