Summer Programming Kicks Off on Northerly Island

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

With Chicago Park District summer programming to begin on Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, Congressman Danny K. Davis and Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly toured the Northerly Island construction site. The project, which includes topography changes, natural plantings and the creation of a large pond, is transforming nearly half of Northerly Island into an urban oasis in the heart of Chicago.

The construction at Northerly Island, which will improve nearly 50 acres of open space in the City, is slated to be complete in the fall of 2014 with more in-depth plantings to be completed in the Spring of 2015. Public access will be increased to the wetland area, hills, camping grounds and other locations with the installation of ADA-accessible trails, boardwalks and a bridge at the south end of the island. The access paths will allow the public to interact with landscape and wildlife without disturbing the prairie and wetland plantings.

When complete, the space will provide children from all neighborhoods with an opportunity to camp and learn about nature through programs with the Park District and Chicago museums. For example, the pond feature of the island will include an educational video display of the underwater habitat with a live feed to the Shedd Aquarium.

The project is funded in part by a $5 million Great Lakes Fisheries Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) grant from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for the Chicago Park District’s southern 40-acre Northerly Island Habitat Development project. The Park District also contributed approximately $2.5 million to the project. The project is part of the Northerly Island framework plan completed in 2009 by Studio Gang, JRR and Smith Group.

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