Chicago plans a new park that makes all other urban parks look like your puny backyard
Posted on February 10, 2012 by Be Chicagood
Chicago has an ambitious plan to create the largest urban parks project in the lower 48 states. At a whopping 140,000-acres, the area south of Chicago that is now recovering from the economic and environmental fallouts of the industrial facilities that once flourished in the region, will be transformed to become a gigantic urban park system. It won’t quite be a single continuous park but rather a network of open spaces within the Calumet area.
Known as the Millenium Reserve, Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn announced the grand plan. It is meant to restore and conserve the local ecosystem as well as offer plenty of recreational activites and opportunities through hiking trails, sports facilities, nature preserves and parks. The project will also kickstart the economy locally, by creating hundreds of jobs.
At 140,000 acres it easily surpasses NYC’s Central park’s size. It will be backed by $17 million from the state, which will not be enough to complete the project, but the idea is that it will hopefully bring in a large amount of private and public funding to help complete the project.
The first phase of the project involves the construction and/or restoration of 15,000 acres of open space and 53 miles of trails, and the rehabilitation of the Indian Ridge Marsh area along Lake Calumet as a wildlife habitat. The long-term plan is to enlist a wide range of public and private partners in an effort “to restore and conserve the Calumet area’s natural resources” and establish the area as a recreation hub with sports facilities, parks, trails, and nature preserves.
It’s definitely awesome to see Chicago stepping up environmentally and putting a massive green backyard on the map. By preserving Calumet’s natural resources and environment and offering endless open spaces for outdoor recreation, this will have lasting affects for the Chicagoland Area and its people. Can’t wait to see it completed!