LOGAN SQUARE — When Logan Square Preservation found out the city will be removing more than 200 ash trees in the Logan Square Boulevards Landmark District due to the Emerald Ash Boer, the neighborhood group sprung into action.
The group recently crafted the Boulevard Improvement Plan, a comprehensive project that includes planting at least a few hundred trees in the district over the next few decades and, ideally, narrowing the streets to create even more green space.
The tree planting will be paid for by the neighborhood group, which budgeted $10,000 for the job this year alone. Though the ash trees are the ones being removed, the group is planning to plant a variety of different species.
A rendering of the proposed trees on North Kedzie Boulevard. [All photos courtesy of Logan Square Preservation]
"We take very serious interest and responsibility for the green infrastructure," said Andrew Schneider, president of the preservation group, adding that many of the trees in the district today were planted by the group 30 years ago.
"Logan Square Preservation considered the stewardship of the trees one of its primary missions. We will continue to have that perspective on it."
The goal is to increase the number of trees in the district by 10 percent by the end of the project, which could take up to 30 years to complete, according to Schneider.
A rendering of the proposed trees on North Humboldt Boulevard.
In addition to planting trees, the group is also hoping to get city approval and financing to narrow the streets and make other improvements to the "hardscape," which are features incorporated into the landscape like paved areas and benches. Removing broken or unused sign posts and old benches are just a couple of ideas floated by the group.
If the city gets on board, Schneider said the project could add two more acres of green space to the district.
"That would do wonders for the storm water," he said.
The Logan Square Boulevards Landmark District includes Logan, Kedzie, Palmer and Humboldt boulevards to Cortland Street. Each boulevard is lined with historic flats and apartment buildings, and punctuated with park-like medians.
It's not the first plan the group has devised for the boulevards district and it won't be the last, Schneider said. He called the boulevards "very unique" and akin to The 606's Bloomingdale Trail in terms of appeal.
The Boulevard Improvement Plan is not be confused with the Bicentennial Improvement Project, an ambitious plan that is designed to completely reshape the confusing intersection at the center of Logan Square, while adding park and plaza space. The projects are separate.
A map of the Logan Square Boulevards District.