Chicago Park District Project Sparks Concern After Dozens of Chopped Trees

The controversial project is expected to be done by 2022

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A five-year project that started with a dam removal and is designed to be an ecological and recreational improvement has many residents upset, noting that lots of trees were killed in the process.

Dozens of dead trees were spotted around Legion Park along the Chicago River Tuesday.

"It looks very depressing to me because the trees are gone, it’s empty...not a good idea," said Kaloyan Stalev.

Countless trees were slashed as part of the North Branch Chicago River Habitat Restoration Project.

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, along with the park district and water reclamation, started phase three of the project--tree removal and improving the eroding sections of riverbank for wildlife and the public.

"I understand...I'’ve gone down this river and its very corroded, you don’t notice unless you’re on on kayak," said neighbor Steve Cox.

Gergana Stalev says she opposes the project.

"There are a lot of kids playing and it’s going to be close to the river. ... not any protection for them over there," she said.

The park district spokesman issued a statement saying, "the full scope of the River Riparian Connectivity and Habitat restoration project had been previously discussed in public meetings. following tree removal, the riverbanks will be graded to a more gradual slope and planted with native trees and other plants."

The park district told NBC 5 the project is expected to be done by 2022.

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