Mayor Emanuel Digs In to Kick Off Bloomingdale Trail Construction

At today’s groundbreaking of the Bloomingdale Trail component of The 606, Mayor Emanuel noted it’s been 100 years since the Bloomingdale Line, a freight railroad, was elevated onto the current viaduct. The trail will open in fall 2014, but Park 567 – located at one of the trail’s future access points – opened temporarily today. A different name for the park will be selected later by the Chicago Park District board.

The Bloomingdale Trail (The 606) groundbreaking event

Front row: Ben Helphand, Beth White, Maggie Martizen, Rahm Emanuel, several aldermen, and Lebster Pabon of West Town Bikes, scoop dirt.

The park’s construction was funded by MetLife and the Stenning on Lake Geneva Conservancy (located in Chicago), as well as millions of dollars in donations from individuals, local corporations, and the Chicago Community Trust. The Trust for Public Land is leading the fundraising, which will come to $38 million out of the project’s $91 million total budget.

The Bloomingdale Trail (The 606) groundbreaking event

Park 567 features lots of seating and some grassy, bermed areas for children and dog running. More photos.

The elevated linear park and trail passes through six wards, whose aldermen all attended the groundbreaking. This project is the result of over a decade of grassroots organization, spearheaded in recent years by Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail president Ben Helphand. Many open space advocates and neighbors, like Josh Deth and Gin Kilgore, attended the event.