Grant Agreement to Complete The Bloomingdale Extended

August 9, 2012
Chicago

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Chicago Park District today extended a grant agreement to aid civic engagement and stewardship of The Bloomingdale, a nearly three-mile recreational trail and park system.

The Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to extend the challenge grant agreement with The Trust for Public Land for $450,000.

The project will run through the city's Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods and includes five ground-level neighborhood parks.

"The Chicago Park District is excited to be part of this innovative project in partnership with the Trust for Public Land that takes an abandoned portion of a rail line and redevelops it into an active 2.7 mile long elevated linear park and trail," said Mike Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. "The Bloomingdale will help connect the community to their neighborhoods, the river and surrounding park system while also giving park patrons more opportunities to stay healthy."

The Trust for Public Land is the project's lead private partner, coordinating the project on behalf of the Chicago Park District. The Trust for Public Land is the leading organization focused on creating parks and preserving land in cities across the nation. In Chicago, it manages civic engagement, fundraising and stewardship of The Bloomingdale in partnership with the Park District and various city agencies.

"The Chicago Park District has been a critical partner and supporter of The Bloomingdale," said Beth White, The Trust for Public Land's Chicago director and manager of the project. "The Bloomingdale builds upon Chicago's legacy of world-class parks, and will knit together four dynamic neighborhoods with a shared place to play, experience art and enjoy."

The challenge grant allows The Trust for Public Land to engage private philanthropy and community participation in the project.

The Bloomingdale will break ground on the first of the new ground-level parks later this month, moving the project into the building phase. As part of the planning phase, The Trust for Public Land has already:

  • Secured $7 million in private funding
  • Established Bloomingdale Leadership Council to guide the project and support fundraising campaign
  • Lead a successful civic engagement process during Phase One Engineering and Design process, including
    • A privately funded a 4-day design charrette with stakeholders,
    • Dozens of interactive public meetings, events, neighborhood gatherings, guided walks
  • Launched civic engagement activities for Phase Two Engineering and Design
  • Provided project coordination support for phased implementation plan
  • Provided $500,000 additional funding and project management for grade level improvements at Milwaukee Leavitt Access Park

The Bloomingdale Line is an elevated railroad right-of-way on Chicago's northwest side. Virtually unused since the 1990s, it includes reinforced concrete retaining walls, soil, and 37 bridges and viaducts. The completed park and trail will result in a 2.7 mile-long park and trail with integrated arts, connected to neighborhoods via the five ground-level parks. The Trust for Public Land, founded in 1972, has completed more than 5,200 conservation projects in 47 states.

For more information about the Chicago Park District's more than 8,100 acres of parkland, 583 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 10 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 natural areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY).