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Donations help jumpstart Westmont retention pond makeover

Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 10:39 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:40 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com)
Westmont trustee Steve Nero (from left) and Mayor Ron Gunter speak Monday with Ryan and Steve Lorig, of Midwest Ecological Services, about the transformation of a retention pond near 61st Street and Cumnor Road.

WESTMONT – A retention pond near the intersection of 61st Street and Cumnor Road will soon be cleaned and restored to its native habitat.

On Monday, Midwest Ecological Services Inc. – a landscaping company that previously worked on Twin Lakes Park and Muddy Waters Park – began the two-week rehabilitation process that involves a pond cleanup, landscaping, removal of weeds and debris, and planting native plugs and trees.

The pond restoration will cost $13,000, and half of the budget will be covered by donations from local residents and nearby Eagle Creek Apartments, according to Village of Westmont Trustee Steve Nero. The remaining $6,500 will come from the village’s capital projects fund.

Nero, who has spearheaded this project since he was first elected trustee in 2011, explained that local residents have been calling for a pond makeover for several years.

“When I first got elected, I said this is something we have to clean up,” Nero said. “The water is dirty, the banks are muddy and people have even used the entire area as a garbage can. Residents have told me about the abuse, and I have seen it first hand.”

Participating in multiple annual DuPage River Sweeps, Nero said he and fellow volunteers have removed hundred of pounds of waste from the grounds – everything from cans and bottles, to food and even a shopping cart.

In an effort to raise awareness and funds, Nero went door to door throughout the neighborhood, lobbying to local residents and businesses and handing out flyers.

“People have been very receptive and have donated anywhere from $10 up to $100,” he said. “Then Eagle Creek donated $5,000. This would not have been possible without their support and contribution.”

Nero and Midwest Ecological Services crews were on hand Monday to begin the dirty work: a pond sweep, cleaning the area, and removing trash and weeds.

Soon they will plant about 3,000 native plant species along the pond banks and the surrounding area. Not only will the plants add aesthetic appeal, but the native species will improve water quality and filtration, and help minimize soil erosion into the pond.

The work will take about two weeks, and he said residents can expect a completely transformed native space.

“The area will undergo a complete transformation,” Nero said. “The end result will be a professionally landscaped space, a clean pond, and a bank that has a vast amount of plants and supports native flora and fauna.”

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