Last week, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin informed his constituents in northwest Evanston that he would recommend to the Arnold Randall, the general superintendent of the Cook County Forest Preserve District that the paths in Perkins Woods would remain five feet wide. In a letter to “Neighbors of Dwight H. Perkins Woods” dated Sept. 21, Mr. Suffredin also said he had asked Mr. Randall “look at the various types of Trail material and to use the most environmentally and reasonably sound materials for the Trails.”
Mr. Suffredin also said he had asked Mr. Randall to answer for the neighbors the question “Why can’t the current five-foot trail footprint continue?” Other questions Mr. Suffredin said he had asked Mr. Randall included whether permeable surfaces could be used, who would work on the Restoration Master Plan and how neighbors could volunteer to help.
A proposal to widen the main path and replace the deteriorating asphalt with concrete angered many residents who live near the 7.2 acres of Forest Preserve District, bounded by Colfax and Grant Streets, Ewing Avenue and the Lincolnwood School grounds. Eighty residents attended a Sept. 4 meeting convened by Commissioner Suffredin, none of whom said they supported the proposal.
The canopy of the woods blocks out much sunlight, and an underground creek keeps the soil damp. Mr. Suffredin said a Restoration Master Plan should be developed and that diseased trees and invasive species should be removed “to allow more sunlight.” He added that the Restoration Master Plan will also address the problem of illegal dumping, particularly of contractors’ and landscapers’ waste.
Libby Hill, master steward of Perkins Woods, told the RoundTable she is “pleased and appreciative that Larry Suffredin has invited and listened to the input of his constituents who love the woods as much as he does. I’m delighted that he is taking leadership and recommending that the path remain at five feet.”