Chicago gets caught up in tree-trimming
December 24th, 2016
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is no lumberjack but he spent a morning last week rubbing elbows with members of the Bureau of Forestry–the crew that trims trees around the city.
The breakfast was a payback on a bet of sorts.
Back in 2013, Emanuel had heard an earful of complaints about the city not responding to residents’ requests to cut trees. Chicago had 30,000 backlogged tree-trim requests.
So he challenged Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams to get caught up. Williams’ department oversees tree-trimming.
“He was questioning when we would get rid of the backlog,” Williams told me. “And we’ve done it.”
Williams credits the city’s streamlined garbage system with allowing more time for employees in his department to focus on tree-trimming. In the past, tree-trimmers would be pulled in to help with garbage collection.
By 2015, the city had 12,000 requests. As of Nov. 1, when tree-trimming ends, the city had zero.
To celebrate, Emanuel threw a lumberjack breakfast party a few days ago at South Shore Cultural Center for the crew.