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Horner Park Restoration Opponents Make Last-Ditch Effort to Derail Project

By Patty Wetli | September 26, 2013 8:59am
 What's all the fighting about at Horner Park? The fate of this riverbank.
What's all the fighting about at Horner Park? The fate of this riverbank.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

ALBANY PARK — Apparently the fat lady hasn't hit her last note when it comes to the battle over the Horner Park riverbank restoration project.

The issue is back on the table as opponents of the restoration have persuaded the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to solicit public comment on the project at an open house Thursday night.

The Department of Natural Resources is the ultimate authority in issuing the permits for the restoration work to proceed. A little-known part of the permit process states that it can be halted in the event of overwhelming public opposition.

Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) called the open house "highly unusual."

"I think it's almost unprecedented," said Mell, who supports the restoration. "People have gone up and over and beyond for a small group of people."

Though the Army Corps of Engineers hammered out a compromise restoration plan last week, residents along the east bank of the river opposite the park have continued to object to the removal of trees in order to regrade the western bank.

Those on the east bank say the trees serve as a natural barrier between their homes and the noise, light and dust pollution that emanates from the park.

By contrast, the vast majority of residents west of the river are in favor of the project, according to Mell.

"All the emails that have been flooding in" to her office "have been 95 percent positive," said the alderman.

The open house is scheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. at Revere Park, 2509 W. Irving Park Road.