PONTIAC, Ill. (WMBD) — As communities clean up fireworks following the Fourth of July; some central Illinois communities are picking up following strong thunderstorms Monday night.
Despite the hot and muggy weather Tuesday, Pontiac Public Works crews continue to clear Chautauqua Park. Many large trees were uprooted within the park following strong thunderstorms Monday. Streets supervisor Chris Brock said crews are prepared for this type of work.
“We had about 8 trees that were just completely uprooted, so we’re getting everything cut up, using tractors mainly to load everything up,” Brock said.
By Tuesday morning, the park’s entrance and exit were accessible by car, but most of the other amenities including the playground remained closed as crews worked to clear debris. Brock said some trees also downed power lines, so that was an added struggle to contend with.
“We hope to get this tree out today and do some more work on the streets, get piles picked up, and we’ll be back in the park for the next day or two,” Brock said.
Brock said the storm hit the hardest on the southside of the city near the park. He said it’s not the first time it’s happened either.
“We had a storm last year come through here that took out about six or seven trees as well, so this park seems to catch the brunt of the damage when the wind blows,” Brock said.
Pontiac’s Parks and Recreation Director Taylor Baxter said residents like Chautauqua Park because of its high amount of shade, quietness and easy accessibility near downtown. Baxter said parks and recreation will work together with the streets and maintenance department to replace the trees lost in the storm.
“Whenever we do lose trees, we try to replant; it’s taking a lot of time and effort because these trees are so old that it’s not going to happen overnight,” Baxter said.
Chautauqua Park is home to the Vermillion Players Theater, and Baxter said the damage will slightly impact this week’s production of Frozen Jr.
“Parking is going to be a bit limited this week, but our streets and maintenance crews do such a good job of handling these types of situations,” Baxter said.
Crews ask for patience as they work to fully reopen the park. The city will notify residents when the park is fully reopened.