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Arlington Heights Police, Forestry Dept., Dist. 25, Link Coalition, Volunteers Clear Greens Park Woods

Thu April 13 2017 12:26 pm
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Arlington Heights School District 25 (including Supt. Lori Bein), Village of Arlington Heights staff and police officers, volunteers, and Link Together Coalition participated in a cleanup of underbrush at the Greens Park woods just south of the open park Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Greens Park and the small area of woods is actually Arlington Heights School District 25 property, and not Arlington Heights Park District Property — although the park district maintains the property with signage and waste baskets, etc.

School District 25 was approached by several people with requests to clean up low-lying brush that provided a hidden enclosure for people to hide. There was concern that the area was being used, especially at night, for drug and alcohol abuse.

The cleanup included the removal of invasive species, underbrush and trash. The goal of increasing visibility was accomplished, and the woods now looks more welcoming with a little charm.

Arlington Heights Public Works Forestry Department trucks and equipment were on the scene to help with the removal of larger tree limbs and underbrush.

Link Together Coalition, based in Wheeling, pushes for drug and alcohol-free youth and works to create a culture that counters underage drinking and drug use. Link Together Coalition operates with grant funding, which enables a variety of prevention services for teens.

There have also been incidents when teens congregated in the woods and set up fire pits that posed the risk of a wildfire in the woods. When the underbrush is thick and full of foliage in the summer and early fall, there were essentially enclosed “rooms” in the woods. They were probably cool little “woods rooms” for teens, but overall the safety of the thick underbrush was a concern.

With a new paved path next to the woods, there was also a risk of abduction of children walking along the path — day or night — with any potential crimes not visible outside of the woods. Following the cleanup, the interior of the woods is highly visible, and open to view of neighbors. Anything suspicious is now as visible as any incident that could occur on any street, and the open view probably decreases the chance of any crime being attempted in the first place.

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