Proposed Shoreline Parks Face Challenges

June 14, 2009
Rendering of the Proposed "New South Shore"

Rendering of the Proposed "New South Shore"

Chicago Real Estate might get a little more park-like if a group of people get their wish.  Tuesday, Friends of the Parks (FOTP) unveiled details to their proposed “Last 4 Miles”.  The goal of opening 4 miles of private lake front property of Lake Michigan frontage to the public.  Sighting Daniel Burnham’s stated vision that the lakefront “by right belongs to the people”, FOTP seeks to complete the Chicago lakefront park border to border at two spots.  On the Northside,  from Hollywood Avenue continuing to Evanston stretches private beaches of mostly high-rise condos.  The Southside parks are proposed to fill in the areas beginning at 71st Street to the Indiana border.

This ambitious plan has some large hurtles such as Loyola University, not to mention many private beaches on both sides of town.  To the South, FOTP seems to have a somewhat easier task as much of the shoreline is the abandoned U.S. Steel site from 79th to 91st Streets.  The South Shore Club to Rainbow Beach would need connection of their respective grounds that now is currently about a half  mile of private shoreline.

The motivation from FOTP seems to be primarily about how “park poor” these areas are for residents and to fulfill Burnham’ s vision.  It appears that FOTP will need more help in the justification department.  But, if they can add some good old Chicago-political (Mayor Daley)-clout there could be a chance.  Needless to say, money is tight at City Hall with the Mayor focused on the Olympics, extra money will undoubtedly go toward securing and or hosting the games.  The current estimate for the cost of such an undertaking is now ranging from $350 – $400 million as reported by the Chicago Tribune.  Knowing how budgets go in this town, go ahead and double that estimate to start getting real about costs.

Not surprisingly, there is opposition to this proposal in the form of www.stopthelandfill.org, a self-described informal group of “concerned residents in the Edgewater, Rogers Park and South Shore communities of Chicago”.  Their stated goal is to “stop the Friends of the Parks from destroying the existing lake shore in all of these neighborhoods”.  The major concern or fear of stopthelandfill.org’s group is that this infill of land will contain an extension of LSD, which for all extensive purposes, is an expressway.  Should this element get introduced to the project, it no doubt will die.

It seams that if FOTP sticks to their original plan, Burnham very well might have his dream come true.  Why could this happen? As long as Mayor Daley keeps getting elected, anything in the way of “greening” the city of Chicago is possible.

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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