Timber! Resident Reaction to Saturday’s Storm Highlights Maywood’s Dead Tree Problem

Maywood Storm III

A tree that fell in back of a home on the corner of 8th Avenue and Randolph, downing power lines and destroying a fence in the wake of last Saturday’s storm. Below, Emma Smith points out dead trees near her home as she dispenses with branches from her backyard. Photos by Michael Romain.

Maywood Storm VMonday, July 20, 2015 || By Michael Romain 

MAYWOOD || Emma Smith, a Maywood resident who rents at 401 S. 12th Avenue, was picking up tree branches in her backyard on Sun. July 19, a day after a short, but mighty storm swept through town, uprooting whole trees and debranching limbs.

Smith’s house was relatively unscathed, but she said there were several homes nearby that sustained lots of damage. A block away, on the 400 block of South 13th Avenue, a home partially covered in blue tarp just missed being levelled by a tree at least 30 feet high. It had landed in the front yard, its branched top flowing into the house next door.

Smith pointed to two trees in her yard, one hovering above the roof of her home.

“Both of these are dead,” she said. “There are a lot of dead limbs all through these trees. They haven’t been planted that long ago, though. They really need to come down.”

Smith’s complaints of dead trees, or tree limbs, hanging precariously over her property was one repeated constantly during Sunday’s walk through the village. I started on 1st Avenue and ended on 20th Avenue, encountering three people who were attempting to cut down dead branches on their own before the next storm sends them hurling through a bedroom window or into the windshield of a moving car on the street below.

It’s not a stretch, even from even this cursory assessment of the storm’s damage, to conclude that the village is inundated with the dead branches of old and dying trees that hover precariously over homes and side streets. Some of them, like a dead branch in front of the home of Leonard (he declined to give his last name) at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Warren Street, seemed poised to fall down with the next strong breeze.

“Mine got a big crack in it,” he said. “It’s about to come down. Every time somebody from the village come over here I’m going to let them know about it.”

Leonard said he’d seen village-owned trucks drive through the area on Saturday night, but didn’t pick up anything.

“They came by with a truck that had a little trailer behind it with branches on it. They passed all of this stuff up. They came by last night with two trucks and a loader and they didn’t have anything on the loader and nothing on the back of the trucks.

“This is about the worst that it’s been,” he said. “I suppose the village doesn’t want to pay overtime if they don’t have to. This is a small village, so I understand that. I just thought they’d pick this stuff up yesterday. I guess they’ll get to the worst stuff first.”

Several houses down from Leonard on 2nd Avenue, two unidentified homeowners were evaluating the extent of the damage outside of their homes.

“The manager showed up yesterday,” said one man who was concentrating on taking down a dead branch from a tree in front of his home. He said the storm had ruined his deck.

“They’re supposed to come by tomorrow and move all of this stuff,” he said, referring to the stray stumps and branches in the street.

The side of a home at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pine Street was almost wholly obstructed by one-third of a tree that had cracked at the base and was now lying on its side, blocking access to the porch.

One woman who was standing outside of the house talking with a friend about the damage said her mother lives in the house. She said the tree is very old.

“My mother wanted them to at least trim the tree a little bit so it wouldn’t be as heavy with all the branches,” she said. “Now, it’s an even bigger problem.” VFP

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