Joliet to use grant to replace ash trees
BY BOB OKON email@example.com July 2, 2013 10:58PM
Updated: August 4, 2013 6:41AM
Joliet took a small step Tuesday toward bringing back some shade and greenery after hundreds of infested ash trees were cut down in recent years.
The city council voted to accept a $12,000 grant to replace trees in public parkways.
City Manager Thomas Thanas acknowledged the amount was modest but said it could be used to replace some of the trees lost to infestation by the emerald ash borer, an insect that has been destroying ash trees throughout the Midwest and beyond for several years.
“It’s not much, but it’s still $12,000 that will allow us to purchase 50 to 90 trees,” Thanas told the council.
Those replacement trees will be made possible with the help of residents. Council members approved the grant as part of a 50-50 program in which residents pay half the cost of replacing a parkway tree. The estimated cost to a resident is $60 to $70 per tree.
Demand for trees is high. Thanas said the city will work off of a waiting list that was developed through homeowner associations.
The grant money comes from the Morton Arboretum through a municipal group, the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus. Thanas serves on a caucus committee and learned of the grant there.
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We’re going to have to find a funding source.”
Also at its meetings Monday and Tuesday, the council:
Approved a plan for the future hotel and conference center to be built at the Houbolt Road interchange at Interstate 80. Council members intend to vote this month on a $2.4 million tax incentive package for the project.
OK’d the sale of a house at 1212 Woodland Court, marking the 34th house to be reinhabited since 2008 with the help of federal funds for the city’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Voted for a special use zoning permit to allow the Sears Auto Center to add an Avis/Budget car rental office at its building at Louis Joliet Mall.
Approved a subdivision for the CenterPoint Business Center I80 so a 41,000-square-foot trucking terminal can be built in the development along U.S. 6.