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Mayor Emanuel and the Trust for Public Land today announced the official opening date for The 606 park and trail system on Chicago’s northwest side will be – June 6, 2015 (6/06/15). The opening day festivities will include arts, performance, and community celebrations all along the 2.7 miles of the Bloomgindale Trail, the project’s centerpiece.
Stretching between Ashland Ave (1600W) and Ridgeway (3750W) at Bloomingdale Ave (1800N), The 606 will a unique park consisting of the elevated Bloomingdale Trail, connected to ground-level neighborhood parks, four of which will open alongside the trail on June 6. When complete, the park and trail system will include six ground-level parks, a wheel-friendly event plaza, an observatory, art installations, educational programming, and other amenities. The 606 will also serve as a community connector for the Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park neighborhoods, turning the physical barrier of old railroad embankments into a unifying park and elevated trail system.
“The 606 is a transformative project that will turn an old railroad embankment into a recreational trail and park system on the northwest side, a major investment in green space that will benefit neighborhood residents and people throughout Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Through projects large and small, we are on track to make Chicago the first city to ensure that every child lives within a 10 minute walk to a park or playground.”
The 606 is more than a decade in the making. The concept to turn an unused rail line into an elevated trail was officially called for in the City’s 2004 Logan Square Open Space Plan to add additional green space to one of the city’s most park-poor neighborhoods. Community support led to the creation of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, which advocated for the transformation of the unused space. The project was accelerated by Mayor Emanuel, and broke ground in August 2013. A true public-private partnership, The 606 is being funded via a mix of federal and local funding, with nearly half of the project costs coming from private donations under the leadership of The Trust for Public Land.
“The 606 park and trail project is the latest in a long line of world-class public spaces in Chicago and I am happy to see it come to fruition,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “Through a combination of federal, local and private funding, this project will connect the vibrant neighborhoods along Chicago's West Side and create a unique park space for residents and visitors alike.”
“The 606 will be a great asset to hikers, cyclists, nature lovers and those seeking recreational opportunity in our urban setting,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “We are pleased that our contribution to reconstruction of two key bridges is allowing this project to proceed to completion and, at the same time, increases safety for motorists who travel on Ashland and Western Avenues beneath the new trail.”
The Cook County Department of Highways and Transportation contributed $2 Million to replace bridge spans for the 606 over Western and Ashland.
“The 606 Trail is a great example of how innovative thinking and amazing parks distinguish Chicago as one of the best cities in the world. The trail repurposes an old rail line to link diverse neighborhoods, provide greater access to green space, and make parks only a ten-minute walk for thousands of kids living in the area,” said Rep. Mike Quigley. “Working on the Appropriations Committee, I fought for increased investments in transformative bike and pedestrian projects like this. I’m proud the 606 Trail, created through a public and private partnership, will connect over 80,000 neighbors in the northwest side.”
The opening day events will feature a series of lively and fun processions all day long at different points along the trail, as well as a street-level festival beneath the Bloomingdale Trail on Humboldt Blvd. While spectators are welcome, everyone is encouraged to participate in the mix of processions, hosted activities, and more.
“Opening the first phase of The 606 will be a celebration of the power of imagination, community passion, perseverance, and leadership.” said Beth White, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Chicago Region Office, which serves as project manager on behalf of the Chicago Park District. “For the four communities connected by the project, and all Chicagoans, opening The 606 is cause for celebration. Community input has been integral to every aspect of this project, and we hope everyone will join us in creating an opening celebration that captures the transformative power of parks and open spaces.”
After opening, The 606 will follow typical Chicago Park District hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The project is close to several stops on the CTA Blue Line, numerous bus routes, as well as the Clybourn stop on the Metra Milwaukee District/North (MD-N). Public transportation is encouraged to visit The 606, especially for those attending opening day celebrations. For more information on the project and the opening day festivities, please visit http://The606.org.
About The 606
Opening June 6, 2015, The 606 takes Chicago’s legacy of great parks to new heights. The 606 has the elevated 2.7-mile Bloomingdale Trail as its centerpiece, connected to six neighborhood parks at ground level, a wheel-friendly event plaza, an observatory, art installations, educational programming, and other amenities. Set above city streets, it’s a new way to explore Chicago on trails for biking, running and strolling. The 606 also connects parks, people, and communities; what once physically separated four neighborhoods now will knit them together and attract visitors from throughout Chicago and beyond. Imagine block after block of uninterrupted trails. Kids will learn to ride their bikes up here, commuters will find a new shortcut to work, and neighbors will make new friends. The 606 will change what it means to go to the park. The 606 runs along Bloomingdale Avenue (1800N) on Chicago’s northwest side, and is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District and not-for-profit The Trust for Public Land. For more information visit The606.org (http://The606.org).
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at tpl.org.