to create beaches
Into Lakefront Park
CITY HALL REPORTER
Chicago Sun Times
would use tons of landfill to create beaches, lakefront
parkland and bicycle paths from Hollywood to the Evanston
border under an ambitious plan outlined Wednesday by Mayor
Daley, the city's No. 1 cyclist.
might sound like pie in the sky to create more than two
miles of lakefront parkland, but if landfill created Lincoln
Park, North Lake Shore Drive, Burnham Park, Grant Park
and the Soldier Field footprint, as well as expanded Northwestern
University's Evanston campus, why not use the same concept
to continue Daniel Burnham's dream of a continuous lakefront
all the way to Howard Street?
filled it in at Edgewater. Remember--a lot of this is
filled in. If they were ambitious many, many years ago,
we can still look at this the same way" the mayor
told reporters, after ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the
Diversey Bike Bridge.
is a great project we should do. ... It's a great thing
for the future. ... When you get to Hollywood, you have
to go on Sheridan Road. As we complete the whole idea
of filling that in all the way up to Evanston, it would
be beautiful: open space, beaches, parks. That's space
we should use."
Davis, executive director of the Lake Michigan Federation,
agreed. "If it's done right, this project could send
Chicago over the edge in terms of having the best waterfront
of any city in the world,'' he said.
it right would mean public ownership, sensitivity to the
fish habitat and the 5 million birds that fly over every
year, and engineering to avoid downstream erosion, Davis
federation fought a 1987 plan by Loyola University to
create 12 to 15 acres at its Rogers Park campus. The school
abandoned the plan after two years of controversy. A federal
judge barred construction as a violation of the public
"if we're talking about the Chicago Park District
owning this property, it eliminates a major problem under
the public trust doctrine,'' Davis said.
northernmost stretch of lakefront is a "glaring gap''
where the public doesn't have access to its own lake,
mayor's dreamy vision is only in the preliminary planning
stages, so City Hall has no idea how much it would cost,
who would pay for it or how many tons of landfill it would
take to create the two-mile-plus extension.
Daley said it might not be as expensive as it sounds.
lot of the money will come right from our [own] fill.
It's clean fill. Why should we pay somebody to put clean
fill out in a corn field?" he said.
the years, fill has come from the lake bottom, material
shipped from the Indiana or Michigan dunes, scraps from
construction sites at North Side mansions, subway excavations
and terra cotta from buildings being knocked down. A small
portion was debris from the 1871 Chicago fire, said Marcia
Jimenez, commissioner of the city's Environment Department.
most recent big landfill was the Lake Shore Drive extension
in the 1950s.
Thursday, Daley made no mention of extending Lake Shore
Drive to the Evanston border and a top mayoral aide later
ruled it out.
would be used strictly to create parkland, under Daley's
plan. City Hall has not yet "formally" approached
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to
play an integral role.
Mary Ann Smith (48th), whose ward includes congested Edgewater,
welcomed the mayor's "extraordinary commitment"
to create open space in a densely populated area.
if she believes landfill can be used from Hollywood all
the way to Evanston, Smith said, "I don't think that's
exactly what the plan will turn out to be. I think it'll
be much more creative. Burnham talked about islands. There's
the potential to do islands, open space and elevations."
Commissioner Miguel d'Escoto said the most dramatic expansion
of lakefront parkland to come along in decades could be
accomplished in less than 10 years, provided it's done
District Supt. David Doig said the project has been studied
internally for "four or five months," but finding
a way to finance it is likely to take a lot longer. It
would probably have to be part of a larger revetment project,
enthusiasts said they would be thrilled with the idea.
"Going north has been a big problem. ... When people
have exclusive right-of-ways, that's when they ride the
most," said Randy Newfeld, president of the Chicagoland