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Painted Trees In Lincoln Park Become an Eyesore

By Paul Biasco | October 8, 2012 3:57pm
 Workers painted seven invasive or rotting trees in Lincoln Park in the spring of 2010 as a temporary art exhibit, but those trees have not been cut down as originally was planned.
Painted Trees Lincoln Park
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LINCOLN PARK — The seven lumbering trees covered in bright blue and orange paint are rotting near the Lincoln Park rowing lagoon two years after they were supposed to be chopped down.

In 2010, the Chicago Park District decided to get rid of the dead willow and mulberry trees after realizing that they were not native to the area, according to a news release. The paint was an effort to temporarily beautify the trees before they could be removed, but the day of reckoning never came.

The painted trees were meant to grab people's attention and draw them to the park, according to the park district, which intended to remove the trees by the fall of 2010 or early 2011. But all seven trees remain — rotting and coated with weathered and chipped paint.

Mario Rivera remembers the spring day in 2010 when workers slapped gallons of bright blue and orange paint on trees near Lincoln Park's rowing lagoon.

Rivera, who has been fishing the lagoon for 30 years, said the freshly painted trees didn't really bother him, but more than two years later they have begun to rot and a large portion of the paint has chipped off.

"At first it looked all right, but now it just looks nasty," Rivera said.

Nena Ramirez, a Bridgeview resident, traveled to the park on Columbus Day with her daughter to enjoy their day off work and school.

Ramirez said the park is one of her favorite places to visit on her days off, and questioned why the trees still hadn't been removed.

"It looks like graffiti at this point," Ramirez said. "It's an eyesore."

With winter storms on the horizon, Rivera expects the largest rotting tree of the bunch to fall before the city removes it.

"It seems like a good idea at the time, but they never follow through," Ramirez said. "I think it's just a classic example of them not finish[ing] what they started."

The Chicago Park District could not be reached for comment.

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