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Trees safe after Glen Ellyn park district reversal

by Hafsa Naz Mahmood, Daily Herald Staff
Published: 6/4/2008

Glen Ellyn Park District leaders reversed their decision to construct two soccer fields at Ackerman Park Tuesday night. Dozens of residents expressed discontent with the project at several meetings in previous months, hundreds wrote e-mails to officials, and more than 1,400 signed petitions against the park district and Glen Ellyn's plan to cut down 340 trees for a flood control project.

The efforts led park district leaders to reconsider their end of the bargain. The district still will honor their contract with the village and donate the land at Ackerman for a storm water retention area. But they no longer will construct the soccer fields. "We don't want to break the contract because if they need regional storm water, we want to honor that contract," Executive Director Cory Atwell said. "The community has asked that the board doesn't remove those trees, and the board wants to be responsive to those wishes."

More than 50 residents attended Tuesday night's meeting and continued to thank the park district for changing its mind about a decision made months ago. If the village proceeds with the storm water project, about 40 trees would be cut down. Melissa Creech said the park district's decision is a very positive move for the community. "I'd like to thank all of the members of the board tonight for your courageous decision," said Creech, a Glen Ellyn resident who lives across from Ackerman Park. "We'll certainly be discussing the matter further with the village at the next (village board) meeting," Creech said.
In November, the village and park district entered into an intergovernmental agreement to create a storm water detention area at Ackerman Park. While village officials would oversee construction of the dry-bottom retention pond, the park district would donate the land. In return, two soccer fields would have been constructed -- one of which would have doubled as the water detention area. "We have begun negotiations with the village of Glen Ellyn for a suitable alternative to their construction of the storm water facility," park district board President Bill Taylor said. "The park district's decision not to construct this field comes after many hours of discussion and deliberation amongst staff and board members as to the merits of this field and public opinion about the trees."

Commissioner Keith Schoen also thanked his board and the park district's staff. "I would like to thank the board for pulling this thing together," he said. "I thank everyone for their thoughts and feelings, and I think we did the right thing for now."

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