BUCKTOWN — Soon, you can put your tush to the limestone in the city's newest public park.
And you'll have plenty of options for where to plant your weary body.
Heavy limestone boulders — and there's no shortage — arrived this week at "Park 567" at 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave., just north of Leavitt Street in Bucktown. The 500-pound rocks are designed to be used as places to sit.
A spokeswoman said approximately 70 boulders are being used in the park, they are from a quarry in southern Wisconsin.
The 13,000-square-foot, 0.3 acre park is one of 12 access points to the 2.7-mile Bloomingdale Trail, Chicago's first elevated, multiuse linear park, which runs through the Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods.
Work on the main trail is expected to begin in July and will take about 18 months at a cost of $91 million.
The park layout features a circular path, a small hill at its center and is considered "a more passive park," with boulders and trees, said Jamie Simone, urban parks program manager for the Trust for Public Land, which is developing the park in partnership with the city.
No tables or benches are planned at the present time for the park, Simone said.
Those hoping to access the trail via the new park will have to wait until the construction is complete in the fall of 2014. The first phase of the park's creation does not include constructing a ramp, which will be built later in the process, to connect to the trail.
On Wednesday, Jesus Castel, a construction worker from Kinsella Landscape LLC was installing heavy limestone boulders of varying shapes and sizes in the park.
Castel said he and another worker began placing the first few dozen boulders in the park Monday. The boulders are "very heavy, around 500-pounds," he said.
Andrew Gutterman, a design principal at Cambridge, Mass.-based Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, which designed the park, further elaborated on its features:
"The center is an open lawn that can support casual seating and activities. It's meant to be fairly simple," he said "The limestone boulders will provide for informal seating as well as a playful environment for children and families. The tops of the boulders are flat but they will vary in height from 1 to 2 feet tall."
Gutterman said portions of the limestone will be buried and will "be much too large to be moved by anyone."
According to Gutterman, the entire perimeter of park will be fenced in, save for three entrances: two on Milwaukee Avenue and one on the public alley side.
Other amenities at the park include bicycle racks and a drinking fountain.
According to Simone, $450,000 in donations from Metlife Foundation and Stenning on Lake Geneva Conservancy Society are being used to create the park, which is being built by Paul Borg Construction and designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
Initially planned to be open in June, Castel said the weather delayed the project by about a month.
In addition to the Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street Park, Bucktown will be home to two other trail access parks: Churchill Park at 2007 W. Churchill St. (at Damen Avenue) and Walsh Park at 1722 N. Ashland Ave.
Walsh Park will be the largest of the five access parks and offer a "wheel-friendly event plaza" that will welcome skate boarders and wheelchairs.