Chicago, IL (April 16, 2013) – Dubbed as Chicago’s “next great park,” the Bloomingdale Trail, built along a former rail line, will be a 3-mile-long elevated linear park and trail running through the heart of Chicago, connecting neighborhoods, the river, and Chicago’s park system. And by August the goal is for volunteers, along with the Chicago Park District, to plant 125,000 trees and shrubs in one day as part of a new wildlife corridor.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pledged to create 800 new parks, recreation sites, and green spaces throughout the city over the next five years. The centerpiece of that effort includes two of the nation’s most ambitious urban parks: the Bloomingdale Trail and the Burnham Wildlife Corridor.
The elevated “sky park” will replace an abandoned industrial rail line in northwest Chicago. The $92 million Bloomingdale Trail will link to five ground-level parks, serve as a main transportation route for bicyclists and pedestrians, and function as an extended backyard for many residents.
Along the trail, indigenous trees will be planted that will alternately bloom and leaf out in sequence. The Burnham Wildlife Corridor, along south Lake Shore Drive, will replace invasive species with native trees and shrubs, providing a more welcoming habitat for migratory birds.
It’s all part of a plan to add more nature to cities to improve quality of life, decrease crime, revitalize neighborhoods, and boost the environmental and economic benefits of trees and green spaces. Paid for by state and federal funds and private donations, the trail is expected to be completed by the fall of 2014.
Source: Lori Rotenberk, “Fresh tracks: Chicago’s new ‘sky park’ turns abandoned rails into green spaces,” Grist.