Preserving Trees Along the Chicago Shore
To complement Chicago’s lakefront enhancements, the Public Building Commission of Chicago is overseeing the renovation and construction of a new marina and park in the area. The park will provide views of the city, as well as enhanced access to Lake Michigan, which will benefit the Chicago citizens for years to come. So far, the team has significantly increased the number of trees being preserved along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Davey Resource Group Land Development Solutions (DRG LDS) worked directly with the architect and took an active role from the beginning. Under Todd Degner’s leadership, the team made proactive recommendations for tree preservation of the 31st Street harbor project. They used new technologies to preserve trees, such as ground-penetrating radar to detect key roots. Degner’s team further impressed the client by using air tool evacuation for uncovering tree roots for examination, as well as tunneling under roots of other large mature trees to install sewer and electrical utilities.
“DRG really came in when we needed them most,” said Amy Beltemacchi, of Site Design Group, LTD. “[They] came in and not only helped with the physical moving of the trees but they also really helped us with planning and the best way to put the trees to use. [We want these trees] to live in and create an enduring landscape, which in the end, is what every community wants.”
The client desired to expand a linear parking lot lined with trees, adjacent to McCormick Place. During Phase I, workers relocated and/or planted more than 400 trees; the team preserved more than 150 additional mature trees, more than what was called for in the original plan. Now residents have excellent vehicle access to biking and walking trails, as well as a scenic vista of the lake.
Phase II covered the southern half of the project. The client’s ultimate goals involve improving the green space but also increasing parking. The key to success for all stakeholders was to involve a tree preservation expert early in the process. Because DRG LDS was there from the beginning, Davey was able to tailor a Tree Preservation Plan to meet site goals and design and use objectives to avoid correcting tree and landscape issues after the fact.
With the support and cooperation of the fine architects at AECOM and Site Design Group, the preserved trees will make a lush park from the day it opens.
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