Tree removal near Lakeview airport coming soon

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 6:29 pm on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lakeview property owner Paul Messman, standing, spoke to members of the Lakeview Village Council on Monday in an effort to convince them to consider designating a block of Lake Drive — between 4th and 5th streets — a pedestrian only walkway. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

LAKEVIEW — As new trees are planted in Wiseman Park, old trees will soon be coming down on village-owned property adjacent to Griffith Field Airport.

At Monday’s meeting, the Lakeview Village Council debated the best use of the 14 acres. Currently, the land sits unused and overgrown with pine trees. The overabundance of pines has prevented healthy tree growth there and many of the trees are in danger of toppling over in high winds. Others already have. Additionally, the trees are reaching a point that they may soon present a danger for airport traffic.

Village Manager Jake Eckholm spoke in favor of selling the property outright, a move he said would raise between $29,000 and $35,000 for the village’s general fund. Additionally, whatever structures were built on the site would then generate additional funds in the form of village property taxes.

Alternately, the property could be logged. Estimates from the lumbering firm indicate this could raise about $8,500 for the general fund. The property could then be replanted and harvested again in about 20 to 30 years, depending on the type of trees planted there.

“By divesting ourselves of that property, we get a larger tax base,” Eckholm said. “(Selling it and taxing it) both can raise a decent chunk for the general fund.”

Eckholm noted the property is not being used for anything at present, so either its sale or the logging option would be an improvement. However, he is stumping for the property’s divestment.

Some council members were reluctant to put the property up for sale, particularly without more study put into it. Councilman Dave Lund was among these.

“I think we might be jumping too quick into just unloading it,” Lund said. “Nobody on the council has thought of any use for the land, but I don’t like the rush, rush, rush. You have to think long term.”

Eckholm countered he had put a great deal of “market research” into the situation, but agreed to move forward with whatever decision the council made.

Village President Ed Winter initially came out in favor of selling the property.

“I like the idea of selling it if we’re not going to develop it ourselves,” Winter said.

After much decision, the council voted unanimously to log the property for now, and then possibly try to sell the property without the trees at a later date.

In other council action, members discussed the possibility of turning a stretch of Lake Drive — the one-way road the borders Tamarack Lake’s west side — into a pedestrian-only pathway. The area under consideration lies between 4th and 5th streets.

Lake Drive is slated for paving and work there is expected to be completed by mid-summer or earlier.

Two residents who own property near Lake Drive — Dave Hansen and Paul Messman — commented on ongoing traffic problems there and suggested the block would be better utilized as foot traffic only.

The council took the matter under advisement and asked Eckholm to look into the feasibility of creating a pedestrian walkway there.

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