The abandoned freight line that cuts diagonally across Chicago will soon be a beautiful green-lined recreational trail. Construction has officially begun on the Bloomingdale Trail and The 606 park system, which will be a 2.7 mile elevated recreational area connecting 5 area local parks and neighborhoods in a seamless way. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, along with officials from the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and The Trust for Public Land, broke ground on the project on August 27th. By the fall of 2014, the trail will be open end to end for public use.
Plans to turn the abandoned freight line into a community park and recreation trail began a decade ago. With construction now underway, Chicagoans will be able to take advantage of the new amenities in a little over a year. The 2.7 mile park, which was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Collins Engineers and Frances Whitehead, will include public art, seating, play areas, dog parks, and an observation tower.
“It is essential that all Chicagoans have access to world-class parks and open spaces – including playgrounds for children, gathering places for families, and alternative transportation routes for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Mayor Emanuel. “In all these ways, we are connecting communities, and I thank all of the partners helping make this dream a reality. The Bloomingdale Trail is a major, exciting project that will improve quality of life for many of our residents.”
The elevated park in its entirety is known as The 606 and includes the Bloomingdale Trail. The 606 name is a reference to the 606 zip code prefix all Chicagoans share. The park will cost an estimated $53.7 million with $50 million of that to be federal money for construction. The park will be open to the public by the fall of 2014 with access all the way to the end. Construction on access, landscaping and surrounding amenities will likely take longer. For updated on construction, access and closures, follow along with The 606 via Facebook or Twitter.
Via A/N Blog
Images Courtesy of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and David Schalliol