RMIA writes in support of river plan

RMIA writes in support of river plan

Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association Board Votes to Support HPAC River Front Redevelopment Plan

September 17, 2013

Ravenswood Manor Improvement AssociationMessage from RMIA President, Joe Cesario:

Hello Neighbors –

The RMIA Board was asked to consider the merits of the long-standing plan to improve the river bank at Horner Park. The plan has inspired much discussion recently, and after a walk-through last week by the Army Corps of Engineers for all concerned, a number of revisions were made to the plan to address objections. After reviewing the positions for and against, and in consideration of the modifications, the RMIA Board has decided to support the project. In coming to this conclusion we relied in large part on respected stewards of the environment, land, and rivers.

Peter Leki, ecology teacher at Waters Elementary, after raising a number of concerns about the project, has now come out in support of the project. Here is an excerpt of his open letter, with a link to the complete letter. “The Horner Park project, like the one at Gompers and Eugene Field, are attempting to sequester rain water, to create wetlands and holding areas where water could wait out the storm, and slowly enter the land. It is not a perfect solution. But it is better than nothing, I think.”

Peter Leki letter

Also for your consideration, an excerpt from Manor resident and founding member of HPAC John O’Connell’s open letter to the Army Corps of Engineers supporting the plan:

“Yet the plan, even with modification, portends an exciting revitalization for a natural native vegetative habitat, one that will attract and harbor a recovering population of avian and fauna species. The merits of the modified plan far outweigh any short term detractions, and it is my hope that those who are against the plan now will learn to love the results as time allows nature to morph a temporary scab into a blossoming pastoral paradise.”

John O’Connell’s open letter

Excerpt from the statement of support from the Friends of the Chicago River:

“A massive ecological restoration project at Horner Park on the North Branch of the Chicago River in Chicago recently triggered major controversy because of neighbors’ concerns about the removal of trees along the riverbank and the potential for increased light pollution and noise from the park which is now screened by a wall of buckthorn. Those concerns have been addressed thoroughly and thoughtfully and the site plan is being revised to save the maximum number of trees, add more diverse species, and adds a woodchip trail along the water to complement the nature trail at the top of the new bank.”

Link to Friends of the Chicago River statement

Horner Park Advisory Council President, Peter Schlossman, asked the RMIA Board to forward his call to action to the residents of Ravenswood Manor for your consideration:

Hello Neighbors,

As you may be aware the Horner Park Advisory Council is working with the Army Corp of Engineers and the Chicago Park District to restore the riverbank on the eastern edge of Horner Park. This project began over a decade ago with a study that was completed for Friends of the Chicago River with support from HPAC. In 2001 the completed conceptual design was presented and it gained the support of a number citizens and local elected officials. Unfortunately it got put on hold for several years while Army Corp funds got diverted to other uses.

We now have the opportunity to bring this project to realization due to funds that have recently become available. The plans for the project include regrading the riverbank, removing invasive species, replanting with a variety of plants and trees and creating habitat for wildlife and new recreation opportunities along the river.

In the last week, a group of citizens on the east side of the river has raised opposition to this plan because of the degree of foliage that must be removed to accomplish the larger goal of creating a safe and sustainable riverbank. The US Army Corp met with HPAC and a number of concerned citizens last night and addressed our major concerns. These include limiting the number of upland trees to be cut, adjusting grading to preserve large shoreline trees, adding a nature trail near the river edge, enlarging the mowed grass buffer near the ballfields, preserving existing trees at the MWRD outfall area. They assure us that these adjustments will be made to contract documents bynext Monday.

As President of the Horner Park Advisory Council I support the project as amended and ask that you, your neighbors and community group members help us to move the project forward.

Please help by emailing to the following people TODAY with a letter of support:

Col. Drummond, US Army Corps of Engineers – Frederic.A.Drummond@usace.army.mil
Mike Kelly, Chicago Park District – Mike.Kelly@chicagoparkdistrict.com

Please also cc the following people:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: mayor.emanuel@cityofchicago.org
33rd Ward Alderman Deb Mell: alderman@33rdward.org
47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar: info@chicago47.org
Robert Becker, Congressman Quigley’s Office: RobertC.Becker@mail.house.gov
Mike Daly, Senator Durbin’s Office: Michael_Daly@durbin.senate.gov
Marc Miller, Illinois Department of Natural Resources: marc.miller@illinois.gov
Jeannette Schiller, Illinois Department of Natural Resources: Jeannette.schiller@illinois.gov
Susan Hedman, EPA: hedman.susan@epa.gov
Maya Solis, Area Manager Chicago Park District: maya.solis@chicagoparkdistrict.com
Pat Levar, Chief Operating Officer Chicago Park District: patrick.levar@chicagoparkdistrict.com

If you have any questions about the project feel free to email or call me, Cathy Breitenbach (312) 742-4946 or Bob Foster (312) 742-4693 at Chicago Park District.

Thank you for the support and please pass the word.

Peter Schlossman
President
Horner Park Advisory Council
312-401-8035

Link to the Horner Park Riverfront Redevelopment Project:

http://hornerpark.org/horner-park-riverfront-redevelopment-project/
Organizations supporting the redevelopment project:
Horner Park Advisory Council: http://hornerpark.org/horner-park-riverfront-redevelopment-project/
Friends of the Chicago River: http://www.chicagoriver.org/get-involved/take-action/save-6-5-million-for-the-river
Horner Park West Neighborhood Assoc, Gretchen Helmreich President

Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association

rmiaboard@ravenswoodmanor.com | http://www.ravenswoodmanor.com
RMIA purpose, per its bylaws: To promote the welfare of the community in respect to the maintenance and improvement of the physical appearance of the private and public property; the compliance with the laws as applicable to private and public property; the maintenance of facilities with respect to the safety, health and welfare of its residents.

P.O. Box 25486, Chicago, IL 60625

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