Citizens for

Glen Ellyn Preservation

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Ackerman Park facts

ackerman park

Dear members and friends,

In light of recent concerns about the loss of
native woodlands on publicly-owned land
at Ackerman Park, the Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation Environmental Committee has
compiled the following information:

• A 2-acre wooded tract of over 340 2nd growth native trees in Ackerman Park will be cut down this spring to create a water detention basin for the commercial strip mall on the northwest corner at Five Corners. Water will flow naturally downhill to this site, no pipes are needed. This is part of an inter-governmental agreement between the Village of Glen Ellyn and the Park District. To cut down this woodland, it will cost $457,000.

• The current detention area adjoining Walgreen’s will be filled with soil and will be sold by the Village to a commercial developer to create more retail space at the intersection. Residents have expressed concerns about how this will impact downtown retail and add to traffic congestion at Five Corners.

• Although the Park District lists the 2 acres of trees as a part of 20 wooded acres, the remaining acres actually consist of scattered trees, many of which are undesirable, invasive varieties, which are around the perimeters of the park. There is not a contiguous 20-acre woodland.

• Along with a few native burr oaks, the 2-acre woods includes many desirable native trees, such as walnut, black cherry, American elm, ash and cottonwood, all of which are varieties that do well in areas that are periodically wet. The topography of the area includes a ravine and small creek, and the woods are abutted by a wetland area. Some invasive species have been identified; although on the whole, the woods are surprisingly healthy. Only minimal work would be needed to restore these woods to their natural condition.

• The Park District plans to use the detention area as a soccer field during times when it is not wet. This is to alleviate the loss of soccer fields due to the construction at Ackerman of a steel building for indoor basketball, which will have a 62,000 square foot footprint. 

• There has not been a comprehensive study of needs of the various sports programs and the available facilities throughout the Village. Other potential sites might not pit the needs of basketball players against children’s soccer. For instance, mixed use of the kite-flying field at Maryknoll could include soccer.

• Starting August 1, DuPage County is amending the County Storm Water Ordinance to come into compliance with the requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act, due to the poor condition of county rivers and streams. Some of these new rules are stricter than local ordinances, and local governments are being educated so that they can begin to comply. Under the county requirements, all commercial properties will be responsible for their own runoff. Additionally, wetlands, woodlands, natural plantings, rain gardens, etc. will be encouraged both on commercial and private properties as they are effective methods in containing run-off and filtering pollutants. It is a concern that the cutting down of publicly-owned woods to accommodate water run-off from commercial properties conflicts with the spirit of the pending county ordinances.

• The woodland, as it stands, can take up thousands of gallons of water. In light of recent studies that prove the value of trees in preventing flooding, it is quite likely that retaining the Ackerman trees may be a more efficient way of handling water than a grass-planted detention area.

Given the loss of thousands of trees to new construction over recent years, Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation believes that the protection of the last vestiges of what was once a wooded community should be part of the Park District’s mission. We recommend that a thorough study of the needs of all Park District activity participants be conducted and an accurate appraisal of all potential sites be made to determine how the greatest number of residents may be served without compromising the natural environment. We also recommend that the 2-acre native woodland at Ackerman Park be preserved and restored, and that walking paths be added for the enjoyment of all residents.

How you can help:
• Visit the site of neighborhood activist Melissa Creech ( for a complete collection of Village and Park District documents, including the over-all site plan of the new indoor basketball structure. 

• Write the following Park Board, Village and County officials  as soon as possible:

Dear Members of the Glen Ellyn Village and Park District Boards,
April 15, 2008

Sometimes, in the course of progress, the value of something that we already have is overlooked. In the fall of 2006, residents spoke out against plans to demolish the historic Main Street Recreation Center. As a sign of respect for the wishes of the citizens of the community, the Park District changed its plans and not only updated the facility but also restored the façade to its original 1920 design. 

Once again, our residents have pointed out that something of great value could be lost for the sake of progress. A beautiful stand of native trees that is a remnant of historic Babcock Grove may be cut down to become a detention basin and part time soccer field at Ackerman Park. The walnuts, cherry and elms that help to make up this woods, are the descendants of a grove that once stretched from Main Street in Glen Ellyn to Lombard. In 1833, an early pioneer family by the name of Babcock staked a claim in the woodland, and gave it the name Babcock’s Grove. Soon other pioneer families carved out homesteads in the grove, including Deacon Winslow Churchill and John Davis Ackerman.

The recent Park District survey by the Kramer Tree Company has underlined the value of this mature collection of trees. For instance, a 25” black walnut, a 31” American elm and a 42” black cherry are just some of the exceptional examples. 78 black walnuts, which have been designated a protected variety by the Village, would be lost if this plan goes forward. Unlike other nearby degraded woodlands that include high numbers of invasive, undesirable species, only 5% of this grove is non-native. Additionally, varieties such as walnut, cherry, elm, cottonwood and ash can take periodic flooding, acting as an ideal natural filtration system for run-off that a detention basin could not match in effectiveness.   

That trees are dear to the hearts of the residents of Glen Ellyn was evidenced by the over 90 citizens who braved the rainstorm last Thursday night to attend the Park District’s information session on the Ackerman project. This woodland is an historical and environmental asset to the Village that, once lost, can never be replaced. 

Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation ask that the Park District revise its plans for Ackerman Park to find a way to serve its residents without compromising the natural environment. We strongly urge the Park District and Village Boards to begin discussions to amend their inter-governmental agreement in order to save Ackerman Woods.


Citizens for Glen Ellyn Preservation Board:
Chris Wilson, President, Genell Scheurell, Past President, Linda Gilbert, Vice President, Debra O’Connor, Secretary, Eleanor Saliamonas,Treasurer, George Allen,  Kathy Cornell, Tim Loftus, Marilyn Wiedemann,  Betsy Summers

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