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ComEd responds to guest columns about DeKalb Nature Trail clear-cutting
Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to the May 22-28 (part one) and May 29-June 4 (part two) guest columns “Spinning prairie after clear-cutting in DeKalb,” regarding the clear-cutting of 1.3 miles of trees along the DeKalb Nature Trail in November 2012. The clear-cutting was done by Commonwealth Edison and DeKalb Park District staff.
Following up on The Rock River Times’ recent guest columns regarding the DeKalb Nature Trail, I’d like to provide ComEd’s perspective. We at ComEd greatly value our relationship with our customers — including employees, friends and neighbors — in DeKalb and take our responsibility to provide safe, reliable electric service very seriously. We regret that the necessary removal of some trees along the DeKalb Nature Trail caused concern among some members of the community. That is why ComEd was pleased to be a part of the DeKalb Nature Trail Restoration Group, which included all stakeholders — the Park District, the Forest Preserve and interested citizens.
The DeKalb Nature Trail Restoration Group’s decision to implement a landscape plan using a combination of low-growing plants, low-growing trees and prairie seed along the trail was determined to be the best option given the trail’s location beneath high-voltage power lines. The previous growth beneath the lines exceeded industry standards for height and posed a potential hazard. The removal of trees and debris was vital to ensure safe, reliable electric service for everyone.
In early May, ComEd contributed plant materials, seeds and other resources in support of the Nature Trail Resource Group’s plan. ComEd worked with the DeKalb Park District to plant more than 400 shrubs, which, when fully grown, will reach heights of less than 10 feet in the wire zone. This falls within the acceptable range given their proximity to our high-voltage power lines. The Restoration Group is confident that, once these new plantings are mature and established, they will provide a beautiful, natural landscape that the people of DeKalb will enjoy for many years to come. We invite you to visit the DeKalb Park District website at www.DeKalbParkDistrict.com for a simulated view of the restoration.
Fidel Marquez Jr.
Chief Governmental and Community Relations Officer and Senior Vice President Legislative and External Affairs, ComEd
From the June 19-25, 2013, issue