HYDE PARK — The Army Corps of Engineers will present a menu of possible improvements for Jackson Park — including a possible new island — at a community meeting next week.
The Army Corps in December announced it would invest more than $5 million to remove invasive species from the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park and is now saying it is also willing to build another island in the lagoon at the park.
Wooded Island currently sits in the middle of the lagoon, which also features three smaller islands.
“Olmsted planned to have five islands,” said Louise McCurry, president of the Jackson Park advisory council, who has met with the Corps to review drafts of the plan. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get those all built.”
The Corps released a feasibility study this month that presents a menu of options for the park that at its most ambitious includes the new island, restocking ponds with native fish for fishermen and new marshlands for frogs and involves clearing invasive species of plants across 155 acres of the park.
Representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers will meet with community members at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Park Field House, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave. to go over the various options and the costs and trade-offs.
“It will be fun to see what they’ve put together,” McCurry said. “If they do what they’ve been talking about, it would be really, really nice.”
Beyond doing nothing in the park, which is listed as the cheapest option in the study, all options include clearing invasive fish and plants from the park and creating a new habitat for mudpuppies, the slimy species of salamander that can be seen in the streams running through the park’s golf course.
“I really want more mudpuppy ponds,” McCurry said. “They’re great for kids.”
The more extensive options add in other new habitats for endangered dragonflies and birds like a sedge meadow, a marshy pond area and a wooded savannah.
The full list of options can be viewed on the Army Corps of Engineers website and the public can comment on the plan through May 12.
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