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Lemont Losing All Of Its Ash Trees To Infestation

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Chris Martinez Chris Martinez
Chris Martinez is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) – It’s a growing problem hitting suburbs everywhere: dead or dying ash trees.

The numbers are staggering: 40 million to 50 million dead trees across the state, most in the Chicago area.

In one suburb, ever ash tree is dead. CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports there’s not enough money to fix the problem.

From the beginning of her life in Lemont, the ash trees were there. The trees are a part of Nancy Torkarz’s home.

Now they are wiped away. Such is the fate of the ash trees in Lemont.

It’s heartbreaking,”she says.

Every one of them, about 2,000 ash trees, are dying or already gone.

A bug is to blame. The deadly insect called the emerald ash borer leaves only one solution.

“Remove the trees and then re-plant in the future,” explains Ralph Pukula, Lemont Public Works director.

The problem is that takes money, and lots of it, maybe as much as $500,000. Lemont can’t afford it, at least not all at once.

“We can probably take out 300 trees, 350 trees, right now,” Pukula says. “We’re prioritizing which trees need to come down.”

Bottom line: It will take years to remove them all, prolonging an already depressing demise.

“It’s like a member of your family,” Torkarz says.

One solution being considered in Lemont is to get all of these trees taken out. The local government is asking homeowners if they would help pay for the removal, which runs about $200 to $300 per tree.

Homeowners CBS 2 spoke with said that’s something they’d be willing to do.

 

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