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Community Plan for South Lakefront

With new marinas being proposed and private efforts to develop a massive, former industrial lakefront site proceeding, park advocates are holding a symposium on a community consensus plan to complete the south lakefront parks on Wednesday, June 20, at the South Shore Cultural Center.

[Local groups are also holding a bus tour of the 580-acre former site of U.S. Steel’s South Works this Saturday; see below.]

Friends of the Parks and advisory councils for Jackson Park, Rainbow Beach Park and the South Shore Cultural Center are sponsoring a panel discussion on the community plan with architects, planners and public officials.

The plan, developed in two dozen community meetings over the past year, envisions new lakefill to add beaches, lagoons and open areas, with greenway corridors along the lakefront and connecting adjacent neighborhoods, and restoration of natural habitats.

It’s part of Friends of the Park’s “Last Four Miles” project, commemorating the centennial of the 1909 Burnham Plan by articulating community visions to complete its call for the entire 30-mile lakefront to be public parkland.

The current focus is on two miles on the South Side including privately-owned lakefront property from 71st to 75th Streets, the former site of U.S. Steel’s South Works plant south of 79th, and Illinois Port District land at Calumet Harbor.

Private developers recently submitted a zoning application for 17,000 units of housing on the South Works site. South Works Development LLC is transferring about 120 of the site’s 580 acres to the Chicago Park District as part of a planned unit development. And last week the Park District announced the South Works site was being considered for a new marina.

Parks supporters advocated adding parkland and reducing parking in the 83rd Street marina plan, said Erma Tranter of FOTP. “Otherwise the community that lives there gets nothing except increased traffic and environmental issues.”

She contrasts the “holistic” approach of the community plan with the “piecemeal” approach of developers and city planners.

The south lakefront symposium takes place at 6:30 p.m. at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Lake Shore Drive.

On Saturday, June 23, FOTP and local groups including the Southeast Environmental Task Force are sponsoring a bus tour of the South Works site, leaving from the Calumet Park Field House, 9801 S. Avenue G, at 9:30 a.m.

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Category: Lake Michigan, parks, South Shore, Southeast Side

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