Although plans for resurfacing the trail in Ladd Arboretum have not been finalized, the City recommends an asphalt trail to replace the current crushed-stone trail on the south/west side of Bridge Street.
Crushed stone and asphalt both cost less to install than such alternatives as concrete, permeable asphalt and permeable concrete. But Director of Public Works Suzette Robinson said permeable surfaces are not practical in the Arboretum because of the clay content of the soil. To make a trail truly permeable, she said, would require extensive excavation of the clay surface area.
Members of the Ladd Arboretum Committee protested the asphalt choice. Jim LaRochelle said, “Asphalt would not be an improvement to the Arboretum,” after introducing himself as a “disgruntled citizen … feeling the need to speak to this issue.” The RoundTable since learned that he has resigned from the LAC in protest over the decision.
Several others spoke in favor of tree preservation. Paul D’Agostino, the City’s assistant director of Public Works, Parks/Forestry, said that a report on tree impact has not yet been completed and will not be possible until the snow melts, probably “in June. …We do know how to construct pathways and minimize tree damage,” he said. When the final plans are prepared, his staff will “walk the path and find out how many trees will be affected and to what extent.
The final plans will not be ready until after the preliminary plan has been approved by the State under the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. If accepted, the State will provide $580,000 for the project with the City kicking in $145,000.