The first of three community meetings of a new plan to complete the south lakefront park system will be held this Wednesday, October 25, at 7 p.m. at The Zone, 11731 S. Avenue O.
The plan will also be aired November 16 at the Rainbow Beach fieldhouse and November 21 at the South Chicago library.
The October 25 meeting is cosponsored by Friends of the Parks, the Southeast Environmental Task Force, the South East Chicago Historical Society and the Calumet Ecological Park Association. It’s part of Friends of the Parks’ “Last Four Miles” initiative, which is engaging communities to develop concept plans for the last four miles of Chicago’s thirty-mile lakefront which remains outside the park system.
“We were looking for ways to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the 1909 Burnham Plan, which called for the entire lakefront to be public parkland,” said Eleanor Roemer of FOTP. The initiative “builds of a long history of citizens working to ensure public access to the lake,” she said.
A community design charette in May considered ideas for lakefront stretches from 71st to 75th streets and the section south of 79th to 95th street which includes the former USX site and Port of Chicago facilities. Draft planning concepts, which include a variety of alternatives, are being presented at meetings with neighborhood groups as well as the three public community meetings.
Community input will be incorporated into a consensus plan which will be exhibited at the Chicago Architecture Foundation this winter and at community sites. It will also be presented to the city and the Chicago Park District.
FOTP expects the planning process can serve as a model for a subsequent effort to open two miles of northside lakefront, from Hollywood to Evanston, to public access, Roemer said.