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Chicago-esque environment

New Chicago Park System in Calumet area

Incredible news, if it ends up being completed in my lifetime. Even if only some is completed, it will help filter out pollution from Gary, Indiana, and elsewhere from reaching downtown Chicago.

Pond - Henry Palmisano Park

Incredible news, if it ends up being completed in my lifetime. Even if only some is completed, it will help filter out pollution from Gary, Indiana, and elsewhere from reaching downtown Chicago.

The largest urban park in the contiguous United States is coming to Chicago.

A new project, backed by at least $17 million from the state, aims to turn 140,000 acres of under-used and post-industrial land along the Second City’s southern rim into a public recreation hub called the Millennium Reserve.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn hopes to add private funding to the project, figuring the reserve will boost the economy and create hundreds of jobs. Environmental groups have been calling for a makeover for the Calumet region for years. “The Millennium Reserve Plan represents the first viable, large-scale attempt to protect and enhance the Lake Calumet area through an integrated, cooperative approach to land and resource management,” the Sierra Club of Illinois said in a statement.

In comparison, New York’s renowned Central Park is a mere 843 acres. In fact, New York City itself has four or five parks larger than Central Park, depending on who’s counting. Still, its attractions include a zoo and wildlife center, a lake, a concert arena and a world-class restaurant, as well as an endless list of film locations.

Chicago’s largest existing park is Lincoln Park, a 1,200 acre lakefront stretch of ball fields and open space that includes a conservatory, a nature museum and a popular zoo. Though partially outside the city, the Millennium Reserve will put it to shame, upon completion. The first phase is scheduled to open in a few years.

(click here to continue reading A Plan for America’s Largest Urban Park – Jobs & Economy – The Atlantic Cities.)

I hope they utilize their learnings from the creation of Henry Palmisano Park in Bridgeport.

Here is a PDF map of the proposed boundaries; a PDF poster; and another PDF map of the Calumet Core; courtesy of WBEZ

The largest open space project in the country is coming to the South Side of Chicago. The project aims to transform 140,000 acres of brownfields and other under-utilized land in the Calumet region into the Millennium Reserve — a public recreation hub teeming with plants, wildlife, trains and parks. The effort draws from President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and state resources.

“Our state – we’re putting in $17 million in this mission of reclaiming land and building a special place of nature conservation,” Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday.

The announcement was made near 111th Street and the Bishop Ford Highway. Quinn said the hope is to leverage private money into the overall project. Local officials also say Millennium

Reserve will bring economic development and jobs to the area. The first phase won’t be finished for several years.

Environmental groups applauded the announcement and the project’s aims; for years several advocacy organizations have clamored for restoration and greenways.
In a statement, the Sierra Club of Illinois said: “The Millennium Reserve Plan represents the first viable, large-scale attempt to protect and enhance the Lake Calumet area through an integrated, cooperative approach to land and resource management by multiple state, local and federal agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations and the local economy.”

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