Comcast shares and supports MPC’s vision for the future of our rivers
- By Joe Higgins, Director of External Affairs, Comcast Greater Chicago Region
- May 15, 2019
Over the last few weeks, more than 5,000 company employees, their friends and family members joined community volunteers at 70 Comcast Cares Day projects at a range of Chicago area service organizations and public sites. Volunteers did everything from cleaning, painting and repairing buildings to planting gardens – thousands of Comcast Cares Day projects like these occurred simultaneously across the U.S. and Europe.
Over the last few weeks, more than 5,000 company employees, their friends and family members joined community volunteers at 70 Comcast Cares Day projects at a range of Chicago area service organizations and public sites.
One of the most poignant projects locally was a clean-up along the shore of the Chicago River at North Avenue in Chicago near Goose Island. We were proud to join volunteers from the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), who came out and worked alongside us to remove trash that has been collecting and festering along the shoreline for years. By the end of the day, volunteers removed 50 bags of trash.
This project wasn’t just by happenstance, and it wasn’t a “one off.” It was the natural extension of a longstanding relationship between Comcast and the MPC and our sponsorship of the “Chicago Rivers Edge Ideas Lab,” an MPC initiative designed to spur ideas for a unified river edge in and around downtown. We were so excited and moved to see the nine participating architects’ visions for the future of the river that we wanted to roll up our sleeves and improve our own backyard.
The Ideas Lab was part of MPC’s “Our Great Rivers” project, whose goal is to make Chicago’s rivers inviting, productive and living, providing everyone with opportunities to find or create their own place, their own experience and their own community on our rivers. Comcast is interested in the future of our rivers, too, for a variety of reasons, and has aligned with MPC to help bring the project to fruition. First, we live here, and we’re excited about the future potential of our rivers and MPC’s work to transform them. In addition, we own and occupy the Xfinity building at the site of the river clean-up project, so we believe it’s our responsibility to play a role in the rivers’ transformation.
We also see the rivers as catalysts for economic development of all kinds: residential, commercial, industrial and recreational. Look at all the buildings going up on the Chicago River downtown, and all the major developments planned along its shores. The river is evolving from back yard to front yard status, and we want to help. As technology becomes more and more a part of our daily life and plays a greater and more encompassing role in development, we also see a role for internet connectivity along our revitalized rivers – playing a role in everything from safety and security and providing live information and mapping to flood control.
Can you imagine the day when swimming in the rivers or strolling along them is as natural as going to a beach on Lake Michigan? With MPC at the helm, we can. That’s why Comcast is so proud to support MPC’s efforts.