Don Harder (flickr)
Put on some comfortable shoes—or grab a paddle—and go check out Chicago's new Riverwalk.
Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich praised the new stretch of Chicago’s Riverwalk and urged skeptics to consider the new public investment as a city-wide asset that connects people to each other and to nature. We at the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) couldn’t agree more. Chicago’s rivers—all three of them—offer many promising, albeit often overlooked, opportunities to connect communities, businesses and people that could drive community and economic development in neighborhoods along all stretches of the riverfront.
In March, MPC began the Great Rivers Chicago initiative with the City of Chicago, Friends of the Chicago River and a host of other multi-disciplinary stakeholders from across the city to create a unifying, long term vision for Chicago’s rivers. During the next year, MPC and its partners will be getting people involved with the river and the planning process through focus groups, bridge parties, paddling trips, and more—heck, we’re even going to go unload barges for a day. Through these activities, we will help Chicagoans connect with the river in new ways, identify ways to spark neighborhood development and create recommendations that will guide the City’s future riverfront development plans.
So at Schmich’s suggestion, put on some comfortable shoes, and check out the Riverwalk for yourself. Or Ping Tom Park. Or the Des Plaines River Trail. Or Calumet Fisheries. Chances are that you don’t live or work very far from one part of our river system or another. Let us know how our 100+ miles of riverfront can be improved by taking the Great Rivers Chicago survey, and look out for our outreach events taking place across the city this summer.