Open space initiatives approved by City Council today will help finance public access improvements along several sections of the Chicago River.
The development of the first section of the Wild Mile riverside park along the North Branch Canal will be supported through $1.4 million in Open Space Impact Fees (OSIF). The funds will be used to construct a two-block-long floating boardwalk between Eastman and Weed streets on the canal’s east bank. Coordinated by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the project will be managed by community-based partners including Near North Unity Program, Urban Rivers, and NeighborSpace. Later phases will include approximately one mile of additional improvements involving new wetlands, wildlife habitats, walkways, viewing platforms, canoe launches, and educational areas.
Open Space Impact Fees are funds paid by new residential development projects to improve and expand public open spaces within the City’s 77 community areas.
Chicago River Edge Access Study
A study to identify public access opportunities along portions of the North and South branches of the Chicago River will move forward through a study financed by $40,000 in OSIFs. The study will evaluate both banks of the river between the Norwood Park and South Lawndale communities, including an inventory of current access conditions, potential access improvements, and priority locations for underbridge connections and trails, among other goals. The study will be coordinated by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) with the help of a $160,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
South Branch Parks Feasibility Access Plan
The development of a South Branch Parks Feasibility Access Plan will be supported with $40,000 in OSIFs. The plan will evaluate opportunities to improve trail connections between Park 571, Canal Origins Park and Canal Riverwalk Park, all located near the 2900 block of South Ashland Avenue. The study will be coordinated by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) with the help of a $160,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
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