Despite significant flooding, The Morton Arboretum reopened to the public Sunday afternoon and will resume normal business hours today.
While the water level has begun to subside, the Arboretum is dealing with significant damage and impacts from the flooding. The main entrance road, the Route 53 underpass, and the entire main parking lot near the Visitor Center were under several feet of water.
The Arboretum closed to the public on Thursday, April 18 and remained closed until Sunday afternoon. All public events, including the Arbor Day 10k and the EcoFest event, planned to launch our Arbor Week celebrations were canceled. The Arboretum will not be able to reschedule the 10K due to scheduling conflicts. Information about reimbursements for fees paid will be sent to all registered participants.
The Arbor Day Plant Sale, Tree Planting and Story Time with Curious George and additional Arbor Day celebrations in the coming week will proceed as planned. All classes and field trips begun as scheduled Monday morning.
While the Arboretum’s gates have reopened to the public, damage assessment and cleanup work continue. The Research Center received significant damage, with 3.5 feet of water in the lower level of the building at one point, damaging the building’s mechanical systems and controls. Water continues to be pumped out.
The Administration Building, including the basement of the Sterling Morton Library, also took on some water. Telephone and computer systems are not yet completely restored, including the main Arboretum phone line, and is expected to remain down for several days.
Outdoors, there are still some trails undergoing repair. Arboretum experts are evaluating and monitoring the stress the flood is having on the collection. It is not expected to have any long term impact on the trees and plants at the Arboretum.
The Morton Arboretum is grateful for the many offers of assistance, support and encouragement. At this time, the Arboretum does not need additional volunteers to support cleanup efforts.
For continued updates and more pictures about the dramatic storm,visit mortonarb.org.