New Park Coming to River North Neighborhood (IL)

Chicago, IL: The Chicago Park District and the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization, are pleased to announce the purchase of a 1.85 acre lot on the east bank of the Chicago River. The vacant site, zoned for a 45-story high-rise, will to be converted into a neighborhood park.

With thousands of new trees and miles of new landscaped street medians under his belt, Mayor Richard M. Daley is just hitting his stride as a “green mayor” with the purchase of a significant new park site in a hot residential neighborhood just north of downtown. “This is an area where there’s a need for a park,” says David Doig, CEO and general superintendent of the Chicago Park District. “We’re excited about the opportunity to meet the needs of this emerging new neighborhood.”

The neighborhood, once home to warehouses and railroad spurs, has given way to converted condos and new residential towers. Neighborhood residents, the mayor’s office, and city planners started the push to establish new parkland in River North. TPL helped to identify the ideal site about a mile north of the Sears Tower-and spearheaded negotiations with the landowner, while the City and the Chicago Park District stepped up with the financing for the $10.6 million dollar site.

“It was slated for dense development in an area that is already densely developed,” noted TPL’s Chicago Field Office Director, Chris Slattery. “Thousands of new dwelling units have transformed the neighborhood within the past five to ten years. River North is booming, but there is a strong need for community spaces like parks to serve the area’s new residents.” The vacant site had been under contract by a developer who hoped to build several small high-rise buildings on site.

The property is located next to the existing Erie Street Terrace and a one-acre private park formerly owned by Montgomery Ward. In combination, the two sites will create nearly four acres of parkland. The site will undergo a number of improvements, including stabilization of the river shoreline to make it more usable for fishing and other recreation.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. TPL recently launched its Greenprint for Growth campaign to conserve land as a way to guide growth, protect air and water, and assure a high quality of life in communities nationwide.