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Indian Boundary Park: 'Magical' Garden to Attract Migrating Birds

By Benjamin Woodard | January 22, 2014 9:18am
 The Chicago Park District design plans for the former zoo include new trees and a renovated zoo house.
Indian Boundary Park Plans
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WEST ROGERS PARK — The new nature area replacing Indian Boundary Park's former zoo pens should attract a variety of migratory birds, such as the yellow-breasted Magnolia Warbler, experts said.

Judy Pollock, the director of bird conservation at Audubon Chicago Region, has been working closely with the Chicago Park District to ensure the park would be bird friendly.

"The idea here is to be planting things that especially provide food during the migration period — like berries in the fall, nectar in the spring, seeds in the fall — that will attract more migratory birds," Pollock said after a public meeting with park district officials who unveiled final design plans for park.

Park district landscape architect Erich Sprague described how the park would use trees — like a Weeping Beech, a White Birch grove and Armstrong Maples — and native grasses to harbor birds, while also producing a "magical" garden for children and adults alike to enjoy.

The $300,000 project at 2500 W. Lunt Ave. is set to go out for bid in February, officials said.

"Migratory birds just cover the whole city," Pollock said. "Something like 200 different species fly at night, and when the sun comes up they land during the migration period, which is spring and fall. So, if you've got the right landscaping, they will definitely stay."

She said park goers and bird watchers can expect to see Hummingbirds, warblers, thrushes — and other avian species — at the park.

"Audubon is all about bird-friendly communities and how you can incorporate bird-friendly landscaping into almost any type of landscaping you're doing," she said. "If you do it mindfully, you can attract birds with it."

Park officials went over the other design plans for the park at the meeting.

The old animal enclosures outside the former zoo house would be transformed into a space akin to an outdoor conservancy.

The zoo's old swan huts would be renovated and made into toy houses for children to play inside. Wood chip and concrete pathways would meander through the park.

The park's existing water features would also be restored, according to plans.

The old aviary, which was home to zoo birds, would be transformed into a pavilion. A flagstone surface and seating would be installed under the enclosure, which is wrapped in ivy vines.

The existing fence around the former zoo area would be locked when the park closes, officials had said.

The former zoo building would be renovated, said Stephen Grant, a park district architect.

"It's not a very large space, but we're going to make it very clean and beautiful inside," he said.

Phil Martini, Indian Boundary Park's supervisor, said he sees the renovation plans as a blessing after recently moving back into the park's restored field house, which was badly burned in a fire in May 2012.

"I favor anything that's going to be drawing more youth into the park. I'm just seeing incredible programming opportunities," he said. "I got my building back now and they're building me another performance space."