City crews have worked tirelessly since Sunday’s supercell storm smashed through the 49th Ward (see photo on right), completing over 200 emergency requests for service to remove damaged trees, hanging limbs and pick up debris. Within 24 hours after the storm wreaked havoc on Rogers Park, City workers reopened every street and alley that had been blocked by fallen trees and debris. Since then, they’ve been cutting and chopping the fallen trees and branches and hauling them away.
I want to thank Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams. I was in constant communication with the Mayor and his team from the time the storm struck our neighborhood. He and Commissioner Williams provided our neighborhood with the help we needed to get back on our feet.
I also want to give special recognition to Bureau of Forestry General Superintendent Greg Wagner and 49th Ward Superintendent Dan Murphy. As you may recall, Greg Wagner was the 49th Ward Superintendent before his promotion to General Superintendent in Forestry. His knowledge of the 49th Ward proved indispensable during the crisis.
Before he became our current 49th Ward Superintendent, Dan Murphy worked as a laborer in the Bureau of Forestry. He put the skills and experience he gained in Forestry to good use these last few days. Dan was often seen with his sleeves rolled up and saw in hand helping with the clean-up efforts.
They were supported by an excellent team of Forestry workers who put in long hours this week to get the job done. City crews will continue working 12-hour shifts through Saturday to pick up any debris remaining on streets, parkways and alleys.
In addition to the City workers, approximately 40 teams of ComEd workers put in long hours after the storm to restore power to 6,500 homes in the ward. Full power was restored to most homes by Monday evening, with the few remaining households gaining power Tuesday morning.
As I mentioned in an email earlier this week, special thanks also go to all the ward residents who came together Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of the storm to help clear the streets and sidewalks of downed limbs and debris.
Though there were no serious injuries in the storm, we did lose a number of beautiful, mature trees in the 49th Ward. We are surveying those losses and I will report back to you later on the extent of damage.
During this year’s 2015 Participatory Budgeting Election Results, 49th Ward citizens voted to plant 100 trees. My office used 311 requests to identify locations in the ward where previously damaged trees had been removed. PB community representatives also surveyed the ward for tree locations and provided a list of suggestions. We will honor those requests and community suggestions.
However, a new Participatory Budgeting cycle is about to begin, and residents will have another opportunity to suggest and vote on proposed neighborhood improvements. New trees certainly can be one of the project proposals that the community representatives place on the PB election ballot next year. The results of my storm damage survey may well inform the choices you and your neighbors make.
This past week demonstrated once again what an amazing community we live in. As soon as the storm passed, neighbors came out of their homes to lend a helping hand to those whose homes or cars were damaged by the winds and to help remove trees that blocked the roads and sidewalks. We truly are a small town in a big city.
My thanks to everyone who played a role in our storm recovery.