CHICAGO — Perhaps the most anticipated public parks in recent memory, the Bloomingdale Trail — an elevated path above the commotion of the city for cyclists, joggers and walkers — will open to the masses June 6, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday.
Built on a long-defunct railroad line, the trail runs through Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park. Work on the $95 million project began in fall 2013. Take a look at the path under construction.
The centerpiece of a larger system that organizers have dubbed ''The 606,'' after the first three numbers of the ZIP code all Chicagoans share, the trail has 12 access points.
When the trail opens, four of the access points will be through ground-level parks: Walsh Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave.; Churchill Park, 1825 N. Damen Ave.; Julia de Burgos Park, 1805 N. Albany Ave.; and Park 567, 1805 N. Milwaukee Ave.
A fifth park, at 1801 N. Kimball Ave.; and a sixth park, spanning nearly one city block on the site of a former glove factory along Ridgeway Avenue in Humboldt Park, will be completed in a later part of the project, officials have said.
A view of the trail in Bucktown, at sunset with no digital filters (Courtesy of Mike Runkle, who lives along the trail)
Cuts in state funding for parks, including $3 million needed to buy the former Magid Glove Factory and money earmarked for improvements to Walsh Park, have affected the latter two parks. Walsh Park was slated for a wheel-friendly event plaza, new playground equipment and a fitness zone.
When completed, the 606 it will include six parks, an event plaza, an observatory, art installations, educational programming and other amenities, Emanuel said in a news release.
Alisa Hauser answers some FAQs about the trail:
Opening day festivities will feature performances, art and a community celebration along the trail, according to a news release.
On the night before the trail's opening, an "Above the Rails" gala fundraiser, which requires a ticket purchase ($75-$500), will offer "a magical evening of unexpected surprises alongside this innovative and transformational park and trail system," organizers said. More details here.
The trail allows leashed dogs and will be patrolled by Shakespeare District police officers on foot and bike, officials have said.
What will it look like when it's complete? Here's a preview:
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