City's forestry department provided great customer service

City's forestry department provided great customer service

When I have an interaction with someone who's friendly, helpful and provides great customer service, I want to shout it from the rooftops.

So today, I'm going to tell you about a conversation I had with the City of Champaign's arborist, Bill VanderWeit, who helped me with a problem tree in my parkway.

The two huge limbs extending over the roof of my house have been a concern for me since before I owned it. In fact, when I took my parents to look at the house with me, the first words out of my dad's mouth were, "Those branches are going to be a problem."

With every rainy night or windstorm, like the one we had late last week, I've worried about those limbs splitting from the tree and landing on my roof and porch. Not to mention, it's an ash tree, and reports of the Emerald Ash Borer make me feel a little panicked about what would happen if the tree became diseased.

I got a flier in the mail last Friday, notifying me that the city will be pruning in the area. I contacted the forestry division to find out if they could prune the branches looming over my home, and finally got the chance to talk with VanderWeit this morning about my concerns.

He was receptive and understanding, and - get this - he drove to my house to look at the tree and called me with his thoughts. I mean, he went to my house. What incredible customer service.

Unfortunately, he said pruning off the offending limbs would wound the tree too gravely and the tree isn't structurally sound. I asked the city to cut it down. It makes me sad, but it's just not worth the chance of a limb crashing into my house. VanderWeit said there's enough shade in my neighborhood that I shouldn't notice too much of a difference when the city takes down the tree in the next month or so.

But sadness about the tree aside, I'm still reveling in the positive experience I had talking to VanderWeit. Too often, situations like these become frustrating headaches, and I'm grateful he made things so easy.

I have to ask: Who else around here gives awesome customer service? What's been your best experience with a local business or organization?

Photo of an ash tree from

Blog Photo

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

urbananative wrote on May 03, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Brad Bennett of the City of Urbana... calling to complain about some inadequate drainage. Turned out they had forgotton this particular city sewer drain during an overhaul in the area some years back. I think they took care of it the next week and yes, it's awesome.

Also the Urbana Park Dept. I live across from a park. There have always been 4-5 dead trees in a clump by the road and frankly, I no longer saw or thought about the fact that they were dead. However, with the spring thaw, one of them was threatening to fall over on the road. I called and they said the fact that that tree was falling would move the issue up the list, and a few days later they took out all of the dead trees. I felt sad too--but they were already dead.

I dreaded making both phone calls. Thinking I'd have to explain myself, wouldn't do any good anyway, waste of time, etc. I was completely wrong. Both the City of Urbana and the Urbana Park District were unbelievably responsive. I don't think I could get that fast of a turn-around if I'd called local contractors about issues on my property.

Meg Dickinson wrote on May 03, 2010 at 3:05 pm
Profile Picture

That's great - I know how you feel! Isn't it such a relief to have these situations seem easy?