The historic Old Levy Road Evergreen Allée at the South Entrance of Allerton Park (515 Old Timber Rd, Monticello) is getting a fresh start with help from some Friends of Allerton.
The Allée runs along Old Levy Road, just past the turn-in from Allerton Road. After a decade of closure, the road was reopened when the Allerton Bridge was replaced in 2012, reestablishing the connection across the Sangamon River between the North and South portions of the Park.
“Now that more visitors are coming through the South entrance again, we’ve been hearing from community members about the importance of the Evergreen Allée,” said Derek Peterson, Director at Allerton.
Two community members Peterson hears from often are Gus and Wendy Schupmann, who come to the Park nearly every day to walk their dogs. They reached out for more information after noticing the Evergreens were being cut down.
“I realized the trees had just reached the end of their lifespan. We saw they were dying, they were falling down,” explained Gus, who lives just 2 miles from the Park entrance. “I asked Derek if there was a plan to replace them. We said ‘we’ll buy at least one tree, what’s it cost?’”
That gave Gus and Derek an idea — to ask for help purchasing the new trees ($225 each), allowing the project to progress faster than originally planned.
“Originally we planned to replace 10 trees per year, over 11 years,” explained Peterson. “Getting help from the community would allow us to purchase 20 trees per year. We’ll use the funds originally budgeted for this project to help pay for a staff member to water and maintain them.” Potable water is an issue on the south side of the park. This plan would help maintain the trees going forward as they are planted.
With help from Park goers like Gus and Wendy, a variety of Norway Spruce similar to those originally planted by Robert Allerton will once again create an evergreen canopy, upholding the original vision of Allerton. The Schupmanns are happy to help take care of a place that is like a second home to them.
“We love Allerton. This is the second time we’re here today,” said Wendy. “I like the openness; the trees; the outdoors. It’s so calming.”
Ultimately, the Evergreen Allée is projected to be complete within the next 5-10 years, depending on fundraising. Once funded, the result will be a historically accurate welcoming South Entrance to Allerton Park.
“We realize that you’re strapped for cash, and we’d be glad to chip in for at least one. And, maybe we’d go for more if some other people stepped up,” said Gus. “At least you’ve got a seed.”
Make a gift to support the Evergreen renovation here. For questions or more information on supporting the Park contact Allerton’s Associate Director of Advancement, Bridget Frerichs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-333-3287.