On Thursday, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago will consider whether it should allow a paved access road to be built through a critical ecological area on an MWRD property known as Isabella Woods. If allowed, it would severely harm natural open space that provides habitat for wildlife, serves as an important community asset, and absorbs and filters stormwater, which is part of MWRD’s corporate mission.
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A private developer is seeking an easement to construct the road just east of the CTA Purple Line rail tracks in Wilmette. The easement would run through land leased to the Wilmette Park District and Canal Shores Golf Course. The purpose is to access land the owner hopes to develop for a profit.
The land is a relatively untouched remnant of oak forest containing multiple wetlands. It is adjacent to the North Shore Channel, an important wildlife corridor that supports beavers, turtles, and endangered black crowned night herons. The easement would run through this corridor, permanently harming the most ecologically sensitive area in Canal Shores Golf Course. It also would reduce valuable green space that has been estimated to absorb about 110,000 gallons of stormwater annually.
Isabella Woods and the Canal Shores Gulf Course also provide opportunities for golfing, dog-walking, bird watching and other activities, benefiting the entire community.
The MWRD has previously rejected a request for an easement to this parcel. As with any governmental body that acts as a steward of public land, it is the board’s duty to weigh the benefits of individual projects against the greater good. This project would benefit a single developer while damaging an important community asset and negatively affecting the area’s capacity to absorb and filter stormwater. We urge the commissioners to follow precedent and deny an easement.
Margaret Frisbie, executive director,
Friends of the Chicago River
If I were from another state, visiting Chicago for the first time, watching television in my hotel room, I would be wondering — how can House Speaker Michael Madigan run for so many political offices at once?
Ken Lesnick, Hillside
Profits over people
The midterm elections are right around the corner, and one issue continues to stand out: The legalization of marijuana. The push back against commercialization is growing stronger by the day, and so far, Illinois has resisted, and for good reason.
The marijuana industry has eyes on our state and once in, will refuse to leave. Its profits-over-people business model is designed to steal away our very way of life.
Children are targeted with the use of colorful gummies, candies and sodas while dispensaries are set up in vulnerable neighborhoods, preying on the people who live there.
Tobacco did this very same thing and for decades hooked people on a product they only recently admitted was harmful.
We are a proud state, one that has had values above reproach.
How can we, in clear conscious, allow for a growing industry like marijuana to set up shop in our backyards spreading its deceitful message that this drug is the next great miracle for society when in reality, it only manages to tear apart the very society we have worked so hard to build?
Larry D. Scott, South Shore