Chicago residents angry that city is tearing down 75 year old tree

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - How do you save a tree?

Some angry Chicago residents have just two more days to come up with an answer.

A number of mature and large trees line West Henderson on Chicago's near North Side. But on Monday, one of them, a white oak tree, is coming down.

“It's a beautiful tree, a gorgeous tree, it's about 75 years old, plus, so it will be a shame to bring it down,” said resident Georges Karam.

“Probably planted somewhere around World War II,” added resident Jeff Goad.

A few weeks ago, residents along the 1400 block of West Henderson noticed a patch of ice in the parkway. Now, it resembles a miniature stream.

Streets and San blames the leak on a defective shutoff valve under the parkway. The city says the tree must come down before that leak can be fixed, but neighbors say there ought to be a better way.

“We understand the fact that we do not own the trees and we do not own the sidewalks. But this does not make it right to rip it out after it's been around for 75 years,” Karam said.

A streets and san spokesperson told FOX 32 Friday that cutting through the trees roots could leave it unstable, and, "For the safety of our crews and local residents, the tree needs to be removed."

“I'm making a great plea that they do a surgical repair. You can dig down without causing great harm to the tree itself. And affect the repair. Effectively. And call it a day,” Goad said.

Goad says it'll be years before a smaller replacement will provide the sort of enjoyment offered by the tree that's gone. Street and san says that despite this example, the city is committed to protecting the 500,000 trees that line the city's streets.

Unlike streets and san, the water department says it’s not exactly sure what's causing the leak. But no matter what it is, the tree's got to come down Monday before the repairs can get underway.

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