Park Ridge Council Struggles with ‘Perfect Storm’ Rat Infestation

In a recent Park Ridge Borough Council meeting, the escalating issue of a rat infestation dominated the discussion, leading to an in-depth debate among the council members, concerned residents, and local exterminators about identifying the source and developing a viable solution for the problem.

The infestation, primarily impacting a 12-family block on 178 Ridge Avenue, was brought to the council’s attention by the residents. They described how the rat problem had led to a noticeable decline in the use of backyard spaces and questioned the town’s assessment of the situation and the ongoing cost of extermination services. “I don’t think these people have used their backyard in three weeks,” one resident shared. She further revealed the steep cost of treatment – “$800 for a 90-day treatment,” and questioned, “what happens after the 90 days?”

Council members referred to the rat problem as “The Perfect Storm”, resulting from a combination of factors such as roadwork, a chicken coop, potential household waste issues, and ineffective rat poisoning. “There [were] all these nice little things in that 12-family block that’s just feeding on [the rat population] and they’re thriving,” noted a council member.

Notably, one homeowner with a chicken coop voiced concerns about potential financial repercussions if her coop was found to be a significant factor contributing to the infestation. This sparked a discussion linking the source of the rat problem to municipal code violations. The council concluded that identifying the problem’s extent through professional extermination and assessment was necessary before assigning blame.

In response to the growing concern, the council affirmed the involvement of the town’s property maintenance personnel and the County Board of Health and recommended maintaining communication with the exterminating company to monitor the situation. They also agreed to issue violations to non-compliant properties to prevent the spread to other homes.

The council meeting concluded on a high note, however, with a young Girl Scout, Diana Matson, making a moving presentation on mental health for her Silver Award, an issue of great relevance in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Council members showed support for Diana’s efforts, signifying their commitment to fostering mental wellbeing in Park Ridge.

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