Mr. T, Check Out Peotone Site

IDOT clears 20 acres, saying it intends to lease the land to farmers

In 1987, Mr. T cut down about 100 oak trees on his  7- acre property  in Lake Forest. The neighbors were upset.

Now residents near the site of a proposed Peotone Airport are upset, too, after the Illinois Department of Transportation began clearing trees from the area, claiming "the culling should make it easier for the agency to lease the vacant, state-owned land to farmers," the Chicago Tribune reported. 

The project is about halfway finished, and some local residents charge the tree cutting is IDOT's latest tactic in an ongoing campaign to intimidate locals near the proposed airport site on West Eagle Lake Road.

"They're tearing our heart out," said Bill Wachowski, who moved to his home on Egyptian Trail Road in 1982, attracted by the prospect of country living.

He said the trees made the site more attractive after IDOT contrators demolished houses on the 20 acres years ago, when the state bought the properties to make way for a new airport.

The removal of the mature conifer and hardwood trees on the former residential property began last week, the paper said.

It is the first step toward turning the holdings back to farmland, IDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said earlier this week.

"We decided it was getting to be too expensive to mow the grass, to maintain the properties' appearance," Claffey said. Instead, the state agency intends to lease the treeless tracts to local farmers.

IDOT should finish the removal in one or two weeks, Claffey said.

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