The landscaping around the main entrance, along the east side and wrapping around to the northeast corner of the Centennial Fitness Center (facing Touhy Ave.) will be replaced along with improvements to the emergency egress located at the northeast corner of the building.
Work began on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, with smaller handwork of vegetation removal. A construction fence was installed on Thursday, May 10, and significant work started thereafter.
As of July 13, the following work has been completed:
- All of the existing plantings within the project area have been removed.
- Perennial plantings, decorative stone outcroppings, and shade trees have been installed on the south and east sides of the building.
- Some of the trees and plantings are on back order. They will be installed as they become available. Any bare spots will be filled in with plantings.
- Decorative gravel has been partially installed on the south side of the building. This was placed to prevent salt in winter from damaging the plantings.
- The remaining gravel will be placed after the new sidewalk is installed.
- The retaining wall for the emergency egress stairs is framed, inspected, and poured.
- The stairs will be formed and inspected next week.
- The existing weeds on the north hill are to be sprayed, cut, and buried this week.
- Concrete walk will be demolished and replaced same day when stairs are poured.
- After this, the main focus will be on landscaping the north hill.
Part of the landscape plan is the planting of eleven Exclamation!™ London Plane Trees. The Exclamation!™ London Plane Tree will grow in a pyramidal shape at approximately 60 feet in height and 30 to 45 feet in width and will provide shade desirable shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, is not particular as to soil type or pH, is able to handle environmental salt and works well in planting strips because the roots can tolerate small spaces with soil compaction. These trees are resistant to anthracnose (common fungal disease), highly tolerant of urban pollution, and will even thrive in inner-city environments. In the spring and summer they have, lush green foliage that turns a shade of golden yellow in the fall. During the winter their smooth grey-brown bark peels away to reveal shades of white, grey and green underneath. The bark has beautiful marbled colors that stand out in the barren winter landscape. The Exclamation!™ London Plane Trees has a typical useful life or life span of 100 years or more.
In order to plant the new trees, several trees around the Centennial Fitness Center have been identified for removal as part of the landscape improvement project. Trees are scheduled for removal the week of May 14. [See Removal Plan.] All 27 trees being removed are crab apple ornamental trees and have been identified in the Park District’s Tree Inventory Analysis conducted in 2012 and by Park District staff (which includes a certified Arborist) to be in poor, dead, or declining condition having reached their useful life span of 25 years. Additionally, the City Forester concurred with the Park District’s assessment and did not require the Park District to obtain a permit for the removal of these trees. The spacing of shade trees is greater than ornamental trees because of the large canopy, which is why fewer trees are being planted than removed.
If you have further questions, please call 847-692-8598.