At a community meeting Tuesday night at the McCormick-Tribune YMCA, planners discussed the final designs, construction schedule, and new name for the trail and “linear park” formerly known as the Bloomingdale. The newly coined appellation “The 606” is an umbrella term referring to the trail as well as five adjacent parks that will serve as access points.
The marketing firm Marj Halperin Consulting came up with the new name pro bono. Ms. Halperin told the crowd of over 100 people that while the Bloomingdale is well know by those who live nearby, there were issues with the name when it came to discussing the project with potential donors and sponsors. There was the potential for confusion about whether the trail was related to Bloomingdale’s department store, the suburb of Bloomingdale, or even Bloomington, Illinois. However, the trail itself will still be known by its old name. “The Bloomingdale Trail is still the Bloomingdale Trail,” Halperin said.
Matt Gordon of Landor Associates clarified how the term “The 606” will be used, showing an image of a wayfinding sign and map for Millennium Park modified so that the park’s name is listed as “The 606” and arrows point to amenities like “The Bloomingdale Trail” and a skate park.
Johnny Morcos, an engineer overseeing the project for the Chicago Department of Transportation, discussed the construction schedule. The general contractor, megafirm Walsh Construction, will submit a draft schedule in August showing exactly when bridges will be modified and streets will be closed.
Bridge construction will take place in two stages, Morcos said. Stage 1, rebuilding 19 of the 38 bridges, will begin in September. Stage 2 will begin in February 2014. All bridges will be completed by June 1 of next year. The railroad bridge girders over Ashland Avenue will be relocated and used to build a new bridge over Western Avenue. All other construction, including parks, access points, landscaping, and the trail itself, will begin in August of this year and finish by September 15, 2014.
Construction of Park 567, at Milwaukee and Leavitt avenues in Wicker Park, began this week. As recently as two years ago, a building occupied the land. The building was demolished, the contaminated soil was cleaned and sodded. The spot became a de facto dog run and a place to throw a Frisbee. Now, a construction crew has removed all the sod and has started laying boulders (part of the “layered landscape, bedrock geology” theme for the park) and concrete framing for the curving sidewalk that will lead people up a ramp to the trail.
Walsh Park, located south of the trail between Ashland and Marshfield avenues, will get a concrete skate park (bicycles and wheelchairs will be allowed) and an amphitheater. Grassy space on the trail at Churchill Park currently fenced off and used by a residential building will be returned to the public for an arts plaza with annually rotating exhibitions. The western trailhead at Ridgeway will feature a spiral-shaped, wheelchair-accessible earthen mound with an observatory and railroad overlook.