Federal Review of Jackson Park Improvements
Updated July 28, 2022
The City of Chicago, through the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), is working on several roadway improvement projects in Jackson Park that will support the Obama Presidential Center (OPC) and the South Lakefront Framework Plan update.
When these projects are completed, they will support a revitalized Jackson Park. Since it was originally designed by renowned landscape architects Olmsted & Vaux in 1871, Jackson Park has undergone multiple transformations in the last one hundred years which have altered the original design, including the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
The Chicago Park District’s South Lakefront Framework Plan (1999) outlined many of the proposed improvements now under consideration. The Park District recently completed a planning process (in April 2018) to update the South Lakefront Framework Plan, specifically for Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center. The 2018 Framework Plan update provides a plan for the next several years to respond to neighborhood needs and historic context, provide a vision for improvements, serve as a planning tool and outline priorities to deliver improvements in a coordinated manner.
Various proposed park projects and accompanying roadway changes within Jackson Park require a federal-level environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Mitigation Measures: Updates and Notices
A Memorandum of Agreement outlines eight mitigation measures that are to be completed as part of the approved alterations to Jackson Park. Status updates and notice of public comment periods, as applicable, surrounding those mitigation measures can be found below.
Midway Plaisance - East End Improvements
45-Day Public Review and Comment Period: 7/8/2022 – 8/22/22
All comments on the project materials should be submitted via the Review and Comment Period comment form.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106)
NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the effects of their actions on the environment and Section 106 of the NHPA requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions on historic properties. There are different procedural requirements for each of these laws and they are commonly completed concurrently. For this project, the National Park Service will serve as the lead federal agency for the NEPA process and the FHWA will serve as the lead for the NHPA process.
This coordinated process is encouraged by recent federal policies announced in Executive Order 13807 and further detailed in a Memorandum of Understanding implementing the principle of “One Federal Decision” for proposed infrastructure projects. This policy direction allows for a comprehensive review of all potential effects of the federal decisions.
Purpose of Federal Review
The purpose of this review is to provide a process for FHWA and NPS to work with the City of Chicago, the State Historic Preservation Office, other federal and state agencies, and the public to evaluate and, if necessary, mitigate the effects of their respective proposed actions, as described briefly below:
Federal Highway Administration – Proposed Action: Approval of potential funding for roadway improvements consistent with the City’s South Lakefront Framework Plan and in support of development of the Obama Presidential Center and City-initiated road closures.
National Park Service – Proposed Action: Determination and mitigation of any conversions of recreational uses to non-recreational within Urban Parks Recreation and Recovery Act (UPARR) designated areas (in this case, within Jackson Park only).
In addition to Section 106 and NEPA, Section 4(f) is a separate regulatory requirement that protects publicly owned parks, recreation areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and privately and publicly owned historic properties and which only applies to FHWA actions. For more information, visit the 4(f) Tutorial on the FHWA's website or download a PDF summary.
Public Participation for Section 106
Community input will aid the City and Federal agencies in the identification of important cultural landscape features, architectural and ecological resources, and impacts to these resources.
To facilitate these discussions, the City will host community events as we move through the process.
Certain parties, such as the State Historical Preservation Officer and local government representatives, are designated “consulting parties” in the Section 106 process. Other individuals or organizations may be invited to become consulting parties as well, or they may request consulting party status. More information on the role and designation of a consulting party can be found in the Citizen’s Guide to the Section 106 Process.
More information on the Section 106 process can be found on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation website.
Public Participation for NEPA
To facilitate public comment under NEPA, the City will host an initial informational meeting and a second public meeting to review the draft environmental assessment (EA).
Please note: The NEPA EA has been released and is available for public comment. Please visit the The National Park Service (NPS) Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website to view the EA and provide comments through Oct. 30, 2020.
For more information on the NEPA process, please visit the FHWA website.
Key Federal Review Milestones
(Past dates in gray; anticipated dates subject to change)
December 1, 2017
Section 106 Consulting Parties Meeting #1
Materials: Presentation, handout, poster-boards, meeting summary, comment letters
March 19, 2018
Section 106 Historic Properties Inventory Report and Archaeology Reports issued for review by consulting parties and the general public
Public comment on these reports was accepted for 30 days, until April 19, 2018. The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) provided concurrence on the archaeology report linked above on March 28, 2018.
March 29, 2018
Section 106 Consulting Parties Meeting #2
(presentation of Historic Properties Inventory and Archaeology Reports and process for evaluation of potential effects)
|July 27, 2018||
Final Historic Properties Inventory (HPI) Report Issued
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) provided concurrence on the Historic Properties Inventory and its appendices on July 10, 2018.
|Sept. 17, 2018||
Initial NEPA Public Information Meeting
|July 29, 2019||
Draft Assessment of Effects (AOE) Issued
|Aug. 5, 2019||
Section 106 Consulting Parties Meeting #3 and Public Open House
(presentation of draft AOE)
Jan. 16, 2020
Revised AOE Issued
Release of the above documents begins the review period during which time consulting parties may formally disagree with the effect findings in the final Assessment of Effects. Written objections must be received by 5 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2020, and must specify the reasons for the disagreement in your written notification. Letters should be emailed to Abby Monroe with the City of Chicago at email@example.com, with a copy to Matt Fuller with the Federal Highway Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan. 23, 2020
Webinar for Consulting Parties to Review AOE Changes
March 17, 2020
FHWA Response to Objection Letters (36 CFR 800.11[e]) submitted to ACHP
April 14, 2020
End of AOE Process
|April 23, 2020||
FHWA Submitted Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation to Officials with Jurisdiction (OWJ)
|May 6, 2020||
Webinar for Consulting Parties to provide information on resolving adverse effects and the purpose of mitigation measures
|May 13, 2020||
Mitigation Survey Issued
|May 20, 2020||
Webinar for Consulting Parties to focus on reviewing the ideas collected during the first meeting and results of a poll
|July 9, 2020||
Draft MOA issued for consulting party and public review (.pdf)
|July 16, 2020||
Webinar for Consulting Parties to review draft Memorandum of Agreement
|Sept. 28, 2020||
The National Park Service (NPS) issued an Environmental Assessment (EA) on its Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website:
A formal 30-day public comment period to provide comments on the Environmental Assessment, including the potential impacts analysis of the proposed alternatives, began Sept. 28, 2020 and ended Oct. 30, 2020. A hard copy of the Environmental Assessment was also available for review throughout the 30-day comment period at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive. Comments were chiefly accepted through the NPS PEPC website and by mail to DPD.
|Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, 2020||
EA Public Hearing Webinar Sessions
Oct. 15, 2020
For those unable to provide comments through the methods mentioned above, an opportunity was provided to speak with a court reporter in person at the South Shore Cultural Center.
Oct. 30, 2020
Webinar for Consulting Parties to view final MOA and discuss signature process
Comment Period Concludes for EA
Nov. 10, 2020
Final MOA For signature distributed
Dec. 17, 2020
Final approved MOA posted
Dec. 18, 2020
Final Section 4(f) document posted
Feb. 1, 2021
Begin design review for the east end of the Midway Plaisance
Public comment will be accepted throughout this process at email@example.com.
Section 106 Informational Materials
- Annual Report on Implementation of the Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement (2022)
- Annual Report on Implementation of the Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement (2021)
Area of Potential Effects – Archaeology Map
This draft map depicts the areas of Jackson Park where historic artifacts may be found underground and will guide the excavation process to confirm.
Area of Potential Effects – Architecture/Landscape Map
This draft map depicts the boundary around Jackson Park where environmental impacts will be evaluated. The boundary is larger than the park itself to consider any impacts to adjacent properties or properties within the viewshed of the proposed development.
Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Act (UPARR) Grant Documentation
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Documents
Federal Highway Administration
National Park Service
- Location Drainage Study
- Traffic Noise Analysis
- Tree Survey Report
- Wetland and Water Resources Delineation Report
Army Corps of Engineers
- Regional Permit Program Agency Request for Comment - Jackson Harbor Sediment Management
- Regional Permit Program Agency Request for Comment - Jackson Harbor Sediment Management Enclosure
- Public Notice - Request for Permission to Modify a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Under Section 408
- Approved Revisions to Section 408 Permit
- Approved Section 404 Permit
National Register Nominations
- Jackson Park Historic Landscape District and Midway Plaisance
- Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District
- Promontory Point
- South Shore Country Club
- The Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District
Proposed Improvements to Jackson Park
- Chicago Park District’s South Lakefront Framework Plan Update (SLFP)
- Obama Presidential Center (OPC)
- OPC Planned Development Application
- OPC Lakefront Protection Ordinance Application
- CDOT Lakefront Protection Ordinance Application
- CPD Lakefront Protection Ordinance Application
- DPD Presentation to the Chicago Plan Commission on May 17: PDF (4.8 MB) or PowerPoint (110 MB)
Illinois DNR Permit
Relevant Executive Actions
- Executive Order 13807 of August 15, 2017
- Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Executive Order 13807
Relevant Interagency Communications
- Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) letter to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) requesting additional information on archaeology methodology and track and field relocation activities
- ACHP letter to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requesting additional information on archaeology methodology and track and field relocation activities
- City of Chicago letter to FHWA providing additional information track and field relocation activities
- Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) letter to FHWA providing additional information on archaeology methodology
- National Park Service (NPS) letter to FHWA concurring with archaeology methodology
- FHWA letter to ACHP providing additional information on archaeology methodology
- FHWA letter to ACHP providing additional information on track and field relocation activities
- ACHP letter to FHWA commenting on the draft Assessment of Effects
- ACHP letter to FHWA commenting on the disputed effect finding
- FHWA letter to City of Chicago regarding the location and design of the Obama Presidential Center
- City of Chicago letter to FHWA regarding the location and design of the Obama Presidential Center
- IDNR letter to IDOT concuring with the field documentation per the MOA
- Notice of Final Federal Agency Action on proposed transportation project in Illinois