Chicago has released a citywide vision for trails and open spaces that will contribute to a network of community-led green infrastructure projects that promote the health and well-being of Chicago residents and visitors.
A citywide visual map aims to add 48 miles of new assets to an existing 79-mile network.
Individual projects will be locally driven with planning and vision support from the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Chicago Park District.
The city works closely with community stakeholders to plan each project and identify funding for engineering and construction, including competitive federal grant applications under the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure package.
“An expansion of trails and open spaces is badly needed in our neighborhoods to benefit existing residents and for the city to meet its health, economic, climate and transportation goals,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. . “This vision and investment also positions Chicago very well to receive federal funding to complete many of these projects over the next few years.”
“An expansion of trails and open spaces is badly needed in our neighborhoods to benefit existing residents and for the city to meet its health, economic, climate and transportation goals.”
This vision also includes Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment of more than $15 million to launch key projects across the city. These include nature and heritage trails and projects such as the Wild Mile, which will see DPD work to expand a 2.5-mile floating boardwalk in the North Branch Canal through an open space impact fee from $1.7 million, and the Chicago Boulevards System, in which CDOT will reopen its Open Boulevards program in the summer of 2022 to reallocate street space for community events.
In addition to these transformative projects improving the outdoor experience in neighborhoods, they will also help create community wealth.