Big Marsh Bike Park to Open by Fall 2015, Feature Elaborate Cycling Trails

By Kelly Bauer on August 1, 2014 5:30am | Updated on August 1, 2014 8:40am

CHICAGO — Construction will begin in the fall to turn a portion of Big Marsh into the Calumet Bike Park, complete with a treetop adventure course.

The park project, which was said to be budgeted at about $30 million at a June Chicago Park District meeting, will set aside 45 acres of 278 for recreational purposes, with the rest designated for nature education programming, according to a city news release.

The first phase of construction will cost about $5.5 million, which will be paid for through a mix of private, state and Park District funding. Construction is slated to be completed by the fall of 2015, according to the city.

The Park District released a video with renderings of the park space earlier this week. The renderings show a bike park plaza and tree-lined paths alongside prairie and restored park areas. Recreation areas will be built upon slag fields where plants have difficulty growing, according to the news release.

Check out the rendering video here:

“This industrial site will soon be transformed into a unique recreational oasis that will allow families and children from neighborhoods across Chicago to bike, hike, fish, canoe and learn about nature,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

Besides biking and participating in the treetop adventure course, visitors will be able to hike, canoe and birdwatch. A treetop adventure course typically features an elevated ropes course and ziplining.

The restored areas of the park will have native flora, with invasive species removed. 

"This investment will repurpose a former industrial site to create a safe, inviting park where the community can come together and enjoy a healthy lifestyle," Gov. Pat Quinn said.

"I think if they can find a way to bring people in to Big Marsh to discover the truly amazing wildlife and natural beauty that exists right here in the city of Chicago, that's fantastic," Jack Darin, director of the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club, said in June.

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