$7 Million in Corporate Support Secured for Bloomingdale
The first $7 million in corporate support has been pledged to build the Bloomingdale in Chicago, The Trust for Public Land announced today.
The total includes $1 million from Boeing, whose early commitment led the way for other significant gifts, including $5 million from Exelon-their largest single grant--and a leadership gift of $1 million from CNA, said Beth White, Director of The Trust for Public Land's Chicago office.
The gifts were announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ms. White as part of the mayor's announcement of an investment of more than $290 million over the next five years for parks and open space.
The 2.7 mile-long Bloomingdale will be the city's first elevated park and the longest elevated park anywhere in the world. The old rail line will be turned into a system of parks and a bike trail through four neighborhoods&mash;Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.
At the announcement, Emanuel said, "Parks, trails and green spaces play an important role in building communities and the quality of life of all residents of Chicago. By building new parks and upgrading facilities, we do more than provide children with playgrounds or bicyclists with paths, we strengthen our neighborhoods."
Construction of the Bloomingdale will begin late this year, with completion set by fall 2014. The next phase is made possible by the first round of private donations—from Boeing, Exelon and CNA. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has established a Leadership Council that will continue to see to raise private funds for the project. In addition, the city has secured $37 million in federal funds and $2 million in Park District funds, for a total of $46 million.
"Chicago is a world-class city and under Mayor Emanuel's leadership, the Bloomingdale will be a world-class addition to the city's park system," said Beth White, Director of The Trust for Public Land's Chicago office. "But Chicago is also about neighborhoods and the Bloomingdale will tie together some of the city's most exciting and diverse neighborhoods. Building this transformative public space takes a public-private partnership and it is wonderful to see Chicago's generous corporate leaders stepping up to this effort, including Exelon, CNA, and Boeing."
"By contributing the first major gift to support the Bloomingdale project, Boeing continues its long tradition of leadership and innovation. We are proud to support The Trust for Public Land and the civic engagement of communities all along the trail to ensure this wonderful park—one that re-imagines an old unused railroad line—will be used in the future by many Chicagoans," said Lianne Stein, vice president, Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship.
Steve Solomon, Vice President of corporate relations for Exelon, said, "Exelon is proud to support The Trust for Public Land and the Bloomingdale project, particularly our efforts to develop an environmental educational curriculum that will help teachers in nearby Chicago Public Schools to use the trail as an outdoor resource center to learn about nature and the history of the trail. Exelon's $5 million grant is the largest single grant in our company's history, demonstrating our strong commitment both to the City of the Chicago and to the environment in the communities and neighborhoods that we serve."
"At CNA, we know that people make the difference. And so that's why we're supporting The Trust for Public Land and the creation of the Bloomingdale, because we know it will make a major difference in the lives of all the Chicagoans who will use it in the future," said Sarah Pang, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Executive Director, CNA Foundation.
The Trust for Public Land creates parks, playgrounds and open space for people to enjoy. The Trust for Public Land is the leading national organization in creating local funds for conservation and is the only national organization working to create parks in cities around the nation.